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Narrogin Veterinary Services: Finding the stand-out employee

Image of the Narrogin Veterinary Services team. Three people , one man and a woman are standing together and smiling. One woman is holding a cat.

When the Narrogin Veterinary Services team advertised a traineeship position, they had a clear idea of the kind of person they needed. They needed someone who was reliable, responsible and who had a strong work ethic.
They needed someone like Deb Johnson.

The Narrogin vet has a sister clinic in Collie, and veterinarian Jules Vandenberg (pictured left) splits his time between the two, meaning whoever mans the Narrogin clinic is on their own several days a week.

When it came to hiring a new trainee, the right attitude was everything. Practice manager Stephanie Robinson (pictured right) says Deb’s maturity and attitude made her the stand-out candidate, and now a stand-out employee.

“A lot of the week she is by herself, and I know that she is actually doing work, I know she will keep the place running – she keeps the place spotless, she doesn’t stop. Plus she takes feedback and direction on board – she takes everything I say on board. She’s great,” says Stephanie.

“I did know she had some health issues and I would have been happy to work with her on these – but so far nothing has stopped her from doing her job.” she said.

The job is a combination of administration, animal care and cleaning tasks. As the role is a traineeship, in addition to her day-to-day role, Deb is also undertaking her own study. She has just started her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

A new direction

The traineeship is a new start for Deb (pictured centre), who was previously a disability carer for people with acquired brain injuries and an aged carer for people with dementia. However, several serious workplace incidents led her to develop PTSD. Returning to this field was not an option.

With PTSD, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), Deb wasn’t sure where she would find a role that would suit her. When she saw the traineeship advertised, she hadn’t worked in almost five years.

“I thought because of my age and disability I would not get a look in,” she recalls. “But after I was asked to the interview, Forrest Personnel got in touch and did their little spiel. Three days later I had the job. What I thought would be a barrier, was not.

“Since I’ve started work, I’m feeling much better – my mental health is much better. I’ve got a sense of purpose now, almost a new lease on life.”

Practice manager Stephanie said there were likely other people like Deb who needed employers to take another look at their attitude and experience.

“I think there are definitely people who are missing out on roles because they have a disability, but in my experience these people are better workers – they have a real work ethic about them,” she says.


Forrest Personnel supports people with an injury, illness or disability to find and keep jobs.
If you’re a job seeker or an employer – we’d love to work with you. 
Send us an email or call us on 1800 224 548.