Lynne Harwood: Reflections on my first two months at Forrest Personnel

I can’t believe I’m nearing the end of my second month with Forrest Personnel already. With the new year already three weeks in, it’s timely to reflect on what I have learned so far and how 2022 is shaping up to be one of Forrest Personnel’s biggest years in our 35-year plus history.

When I join an organisation, it is important to me to get to know the people first-hand. I am like a sponge; I am someone who can’t get enough information so that I can understand the challenges and identify the opportunities for the future. That’s why, over the past few weeks, you may have seen me visiting many of our sixteen offices across WA and the communities which we serve.

I’ve been speaking with the people we exist for – people with disability, injury or illness who have registered with Forrest Personnel to help them find and keep employment. I’ve been listening to ideas about how we can provide even better person-centred support and ensure we are building on their abilities and focusing on their aspirations.

I’ve been listening to our employer partners about their needs and how our participants provide them with a breadth of skills and experience and genuinely add value to their organisations. I’ve also learned a lot about their current challenges during the unprecedented skills shortage in WA and taking on feedback about how we can make it easier to access the staff they so desperately need.

I have met many of our community partners who we work with every day to provide a range of skills and training opportunities, along with personal and social support services. I am heartened to find a shared vision across organisations recognising the critical importance to help those who need our support to access the life-changing benefits of employment. There is power in collaboration, and I’m really excited about what we will achieve together.

And of course, I have been getting to know all our employees. I have sat down with many, joined them in visiting our employer partners and important community stakeholders. I am humbled by their stories about who they have helped and how committed they are to changing lives.

I’m truly privileged and honoured to lead our organisation and am hugely energised by our participants, staff, partners, and stakeholders. My overall sense after my two months is that we are primed and positioned for even greater things. We are already one of WA’s leading boutique recruitment agencies with a broad range of services and there is enormous potential bubbling under the surface to make an even bigger impact for people living with disability, injury, or illness.

Lynne Harwood

Chief Executive Officer, Forrest Personnel