Madeleine Slingo is on a mission. The 27-year-old environmental scientist is working to protect the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot through Jobs Victoria’s Youth Employment Program.

Madeleine with Hamilton Pearson from the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority.

Madeleine with Hamilton Pearson from the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority.

Madeleine, who lost her job due to the pandemic, found a project officer role with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority on the Jobs Victoria online hub, which matches employers with skilled local candidates.

She jumped at the chance to put her education and knowledge to good use and is now working to protect biodiversity and cultural heritage across Victoria.

“Today, I was out doing monitoring work for the orange-bellied parrot,” Madeleine says.

“Other days, I might be doing vegetation surveys, meeting with private landholders about protecting vegetation on their property, or monitoring different sorts of landscape, like saltmarsh, for any changes.”

Jobs Victoria supports people looking for work and connects employers with the staff they need. It provides information, advice and support in person, online and on the phone.

The Youth Employment Program gives Victorians aged between 17 and 29 a chance to work in Victorian Government departments and agencies. Roles last from six to 12 months.

“No one likes to be unemployed, and being unemployed during the pandemic is another level,” she says.

Since joining the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Team in March 2021, Madeleine has gained experience in biodiversity, cultural heritage, general natural resource management, and protection of critically endangered flora and fauna.

Madeleine at work with the Corangamite Catchment Authority.

Madeleine at work with the Corangamite Catchment Authority.

“The role that I’m in now through the Youth Employment Program is more targeted to my interests in terms of protecting the environment.”

Continuing professional development

Madeleine has a Bachelor of Science from Melbourne University and experience in environmental science at a global engineering firm and is back on track with her career. “I’m constantly learning, and it’s relevant to my skills.”

The balance between fieldwork and the virtual office has been beneficial for Madeleine. She has opportunities to use her project management experience and develop her reporting skills without being tied to her desk.

“This week, I’m out in the field every single day. That’s awesome. That’s what I love, and it’s great that I’m able to do that.”

Madeleine’s 12-month contract offers her greater security. It also boosts the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority’s capacity – a win for Madeleine, her employer and the environment.

“My manager is thrilled this money came in to hire someone through the program because it has meant our team has an extra resource and extra hands on the ground to help with the projects they already had running.”