As part of the TAFE Certificate IV in vet nursing Shaelee Howell must complete 480 hours of placement within a hospital.
She was just six weeks into a placement at Mulberry Lane Veterinary Hospital when she was offered casual work.
"I thought it would be a lot more stressful, but because of the personalities of the people it's pretty relaxed and everything is smooth, not chaotic," said Ms Howell.
"It's such a friendly and accepting workplace for students, so I feel very lucky."
The hospital mostly treats cats and dogs, among other patients including rabbits, injured birds and pet rats.
Shaelee Howell became a mum at age 17, and has three children aged from eight to 14.
The family house is full of pets.
Having spent more than a decade as a stay at home mum, she now has the time to pursue study.
Ms Howell's teacher Kelli Johnston said it's the fastest she had seen any student convert work placement into a career opportunity.
"Shaelee is hard working, dedicated and mature, and an asset to any employer," Ms Johnston said.
"It feels like this is her opportunity in life to do something for herself after being a very dedicated young mother."
Mulberry Lane Veterinary Hospital owner and veterinarian Judith Carney said her business had long been associated with TAFE NSW, and believed work placement was more effective than a traditional recruitment process.
Dr Carney described Ms Howell as "a real worker ... with a great attitude".
"Her ability to absorb knowledge and listen is fantastic," she said.
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