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Media Release
Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage


28 February 2001

STUDENT VOLUNTEERS IN THE LEAD FOR SCIENCE JOBS


Three Victorian university students today completed a unique botany program in Canberra and are now better placed to find jobs in science, according to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone.

"These students are making a valuable contribution to science, in their own time, during the International Year of Volunteers and moving a step closer to a rewarding career in plant sciences," Sharman Stone said.

The Director of Environment Australia's National Parks division, Mr Peter Cochrane, presented the Student Botanical Internship Program participants with certificates in recognition of their intensive summer work, covering training in botany, communication and job search skills.

The students were among 19 botany, forestry, plant ecology and horticulture enthusiasts to be chosen for a two month, full-time, unpaid placement with the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, jointly run by Environment Australia and the CSIRO.

"These students leave the program with increased skills and the practical experience necessary to enter the scientific job market," Sharman Stone said.

"Interns have generally finished their second or third year of tertiary studies, when job search skills are a high priority. They work with leading botanical experts and conservation managers, but also gain crucial skills required by employers.

"The program is unique in Australia, allowing students to gain a feel for life in the scientific workforce while studying our rare flora in the Australian National Herbarium.

"It supplements what students are taught at university and teaches skills not usually gained until after entry into the workforce, such as field work, communicating with non-scientists and working as a team.

"Students learn about jobs in science and conservation, are given the chance to develop job applications within deadlines, and are given job interview experience by Centre staff in the final week of the program.

"The hands-on experience includes searching for plants in the bush and assisting with identification and processing of thousands of plant specimens.

"These interns are the conservation biologists, plant taxonomists, scientific technicians and environmental policy makers of the future.

"Australia faces a huge challenge in protecting and preserving its biodiversity. We are still developing a comprehensive understanding of the plant species and eco-systems in some of the more remote parts of Australia. These scientists of the future will play a valuable role."

For further information on the Student Botanical Internship Program, contact Brendan Lepschi on (02) 6246 5167, email b.lepschi@pi.csiro.au or visit the web site at www.anbg.gov.au/intern/

Further details on Interns are attached.

28 February 2001

For further information please contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or 02 6277 2016 or
Bob Makinson (Australian National Herbarium) on (02) 6246 5501

Commonwealth of Australia