SPCA New Zealand

Volunteer positions

National Rescue Unit Volunteer
Wellington Centre

National Rescue Unit Volunteer

The SPCA National Rescue Unit (NRU) is a group of dedicated volunteers that provides specialised animal rescue.

This includes work in high angle, swift water/flood, confined space, urban search and rescue environments, as well as rescues specific to large animals.

Beyond technical animal rescue, the team also has the capacity to provide support during civil defence emergencies. This can include animal evacuations, visiting properties to conduct welfare checks, and assisting at temporary animal housing facilities. The NRU is a national resource and can be deployed anywhere in New Zealand to assist animals in emergencies.

What is required to join SPCA's NRU:

Citizenship/Residency. You must be 18+ years old and have New Zealand or Australian citizenship, permanent residency or a residency class visa.

Availability. Due to the unpredictable nature of animal rescue, we may need to organise a response at short notice (within 2-4 hours) throughout the week (including weekdays). Although it is impossible to predict the number of future emergencies, historically the team has had at least one rescue each month. If you would rarely be available to help with these responses on a typical workday, then NRU membership might not be appropriate for you at this time.

Health/Fitness. Technical animal rescue is physically and mentally challenging. We want to make sure that all applicants have a good level of fitness, are a confident and able swimmer, and are fit to safely undertake a variety of tasks.

Commitment. NRU membership is a serious commitment where team members complete 400+ hours per annum across training, practice and emergency responses. To acquire and maintain skills, it is essential that team members can commit to regular training exercises (one evening and one full day each month) as well as take advantage of opportunities to attend additional courses. Ideal candidates are team players that are willing to learn and practice regularly.

Experience/Training. Interested individuals should have basic knowledge of animal behaviour and handling (Animal Care Certificate Level 2/3 is preferred), as well as a current First Aid Level 2 certificate. Applicants must hold a full and clean drivers licence, and have their own transport.

Lastly, the NRU is looking for people who are able to work within a team, can work well under pressure, are willing to learn, and are self-driven and motivated.

SPCA NRU’s Recruitment Process:

Application. If you are interested in joining SPCA's NRU, please fill out the application form below. If your application is successful you will be invited to attend one Wednesday (evening) training and one Saturday (full day) training. After attending the two training sessions you may be invited to a face to face interview to discuss your availability, experience and current skills. If the interview is successful you would be invited to start the induction phase.

Induction. The three-month induction phase requires you to complete the SPCA Volunteer Orientation (including Health and Safety). Following this, you will attend an Introduction to NRU session where you will be introduced to core NRU procedures and the micro-skills that you must become proficient in before the end of your induction. During the induction phase, you are required to attend 50% of team training over the three month period. Please note that you will not be eligible to attend rescues or deployments during this phase. You must also provide a First Aid Level 2 Certificate (or obtain one at your own cost).

Recruit. The recruit phase is 12 months minimum, two years maximum. Over this period you must maintain an 80% (or higher) training attendance rate. Additionally, you must successfully complete all courses in the recruit phase curriculum. Recruits will be provided with selected PPE and will be eligible to attend rescues and deployments (upon the discretion of the NRU Technical Rescue Coordinator). Upon successful completion of the recruit phase requirements, you will be eligible to undertake assessment to determine if you ready to join the team as a full member. If the assessment is completed successfully you will graduate as a technician in the SPCA NRU.

Technician. Technicians must maintain a 70% (or higher) training attendance rate and competency in recruit phase skills (at a minimum) to remain operational. Technicians will receive technician coveralls and selected PPE as personal issue. They will also be required to undertake periodic skills maintenance to maintain their operational status.

If you have any questions, please email NRU@spca.nz

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