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Diary of a WorkABILITY Day adventure with Western Power

Two men in orange hi-vis are giving a thumbs up sign. There is a vehicle parked behind them

WorkABILITY Day 2020 was a big day out for many employers and Forrest Personnel participants. Western Power was a key partner this year, and hosted 10 participants across the state.

Meet Neil and Don

Neil Barlow was one such participant. He has a background in trades and has worked in several industries. Most recently, he was employed at Parkside Greenbushes Mill.

The plan was for participant Neil to experience a day in the life of Western Power’s Don Boshoff, a Regional Facilities Manager. This involved travelling around the beautiful South West, visiting depots, substations and communications sites.

Beginning in Bridgetown

The duo began at the Bridgetown depot where Western Power has a small office fit-out starting. They kicked off their day with a pre-start meeting and ran through job steps and safety protocols.

Two men in orange hi-vis are giving a thumbs up sign

Don Boshoff (left) and Neil Barlow on their WorkABILITY Day 2020 adventure with Western Power

From there, the team got on the road and made their way to the Manjimup substation. For those not in the know about such things, a substation is part of an electrical generation, transmission and distribution system.

Neil and Don were joined by George Nichols from C.E.M. Alliance (civil, electrical, mechanical project and maintenance) because they were scoping needed repair work resulting from recent facilities management inspections.

Getting the inside scoop

This proved to be an ideal opportunity to give Neil an overview of the workings of a substation, the associated communication equipment and the tower. According to Don, Neil showed a lot of interest and asked plenty of questions.

Don commented that: “It was good to share knowledge with someone who had never been in a substation before.”

Quinninup, Pemberton and Beenup

The team then made their way to Quinninup substation for scoping more works and a walk around the site.

The next stop on the journey was Pemberton where they had lunch. Neil and Don are most appreciative of George and C.E.M. Alliance for the shout. Yum!

Their last site visit was Beenup substation.

Enjoying the scenery

The duo stopped on the way back to Bridgetown to snap a mob of emus knocking around a paddock. However, the emus retreated quickly when they spotted the orange hi-vis!

Emus are seen in the distance in a green paddock.

Emus in the distance as spotted by Neil and Don

Benefits to both

According to Don: “Neil showed great interest right from the start and was really engaged throughout the day. It was good to offer him some exposure to what we do as a company, and I hope he gained something out of the experience. I really enjoyed having him on board and I think he enjoyed himself too.”

Neil told us that: “The day was good. It was interesting to visit a substation and to see what Don did on his side. The whole day went by very quickly, that’s for sure!”


Written with words contributed by Don Boshoff

Feature photo: Neil Barlow (left) and Don Boshoff on their WorkABILITY Day 2020 adventure

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

WorkABILITY Day provides work experience for Forrest Personnel participants by matching them with opportunities provided by willing employers.

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