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Jennie starts her apprenticeship

We are thrilled to welcome Jennie Marshall. Jennie started her apprenticeship in October and has moved away from her home in Buckinghamshire for this opportunity.  She was so excited to be offered the apprenticeship, she screamed down the phone at Gary! (Gary Benton, Head of Living Collection).  After gaining some work experience with us in 2016 she was really keen to work with our birds “I absolutely loved it and wished I could start working here right there and then”

Since my initial interview for the apprenticeship everything has moved so fast and lots has changed.  After I found out that I had been successful for the position (and was so unbelievably excited) there has been a lot of firsts happening for me; it’s the first time I have lived away from home.  I am originally from Buckinghamshire.  This is my first job in animal care, I previously worked at a supermarket so this is a completely different experience for me.

I have always wanted to work with animals and the Hawk Conservancy Trust was the first place I gained any work experience directly with animals, I absolutely loved it and wished I could start working here right there and then.

Five years later and that dream has come true! (And it still doesn’t feel real!) In the meantime I gained experience  volunteering at Whipsnade Zoo, learning about conservation, helping to teach school groups and also volunteering with their park birds – not birds of prey, some of them were penguins!

So far in my role as the bird team apprentice I have been overwhelmed with a wealth of new information being thrown at me in every direction, and I love that I have been able to get hands on and involved in many aspects from day one. On my first day I was involved in the Wings of Africa show, Ryan gave me a bit of food and told me to go over to call Cavalli the Verreaux’s Eagle owl to it, I never thought I’d be doing that on my first day!

Since starting in mid-October, I have gained so much knowledge and a lot more confidence working with the birds and getting to know all of their individual personalities, such as the cheekiness of Sirius the Caracara who stole all his food from me during a display! I still have a long way to go and there’s much more to learn but I am enjoying every step of the way.

©2022 Hawk Conservancy Trust