21 Years of Employment in a Job that He Loves!
When Daniel Wood first came to Forrest Personnel, he was working in a job he didn’t like and hoped we could help find something more suitable for him. He says he “commenced with Forrest Personnel in 1997” working at a job “…where I was making concrete products. I did not like that job.” Working with Forrest Personnel, Daniel, who is living with autism, was very happy to be given an opportunity for work experience at the City of Bunbury’s Withers Library.
He found this role a great fit for him, stating, “I have a passion for literature and a love of books. It was a dream job. I gain enjoyment from reading and researching things that interest me. Since the age of 4 I have developed an interest in Science Fiction after watching Star Wars and Dr. Who. I write my own books. After my successful work experience I was offered a job as a Library Clerk.”
Daniel has now been employed with the City of Bunbury for 21 years as a Library Clerk, working in both the Withers and Main Libraries.
Forrest Personnel is proud and honoured to have supported Daniel in gaining this life-changing and sustained employment. Daniel told us, “After my successful work experience I was offered a job as a Library Clerk. My main duties are returning books to the shelves. I work every day. During my 10 years at Withers Library I had to re-deploy to the Main Library while Withers Library was renovated. Once I settled in there I found it had more to offer me because it was a lot bigger with more books to use for my research. I have really enjoyed working with the staff members and getting to know them all. I am proud to say I have been employed with the City of Bunbury now for 21 years. I have no plans to retire. “
Daniel also appreciates the many years of support from Forrest Personnel, stating that his Employment Consultant, Donna Bastow, “supports me in my job when I need assistance.”
We are proud of Daniel’s successful, long-term employment and the opportunity we have had to provide support to him over the past two decades in gaining and maintaining a job that he loves!
We also appreciate our on-going working relationship with the City of Bunbury and its welcoming and supportive role in providing opportunities for sustainable employment.
Bunbury Farmers Market Embraces Diversity & Inclusion with Successful Sustainable Employment for Local Community Members, Bunbury Farmers Market Embraces & Promotes Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
The Bunbury Farmer’s Market is more than a great place to find an abundance of diverse and fresh food while also supporting local farmers. They are also an employer that embraces and promotes diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. To this end for over 6 years they have worked in partnership with Forrest Personnel, welcoming and providing opportunities for sustainable employment to local community members living with a health condition, disability or injury.
Since 2013 the Market has provided numerous job opportunities to Forrest Personnel participants. Among these individuals is Ryan Brennan, who has enjoyed meaningful and on-going employment serving as a Trolley Collector for over 6 years. During this time Ryan has proven himself to become a valued, long-term team member. According to Ryan, he enjoys that trolley collectors are often the first person that customers see as they arrive at the Market, which also includes meeting and greeting the occasional celebrity. He a hardworking, great team member who knows his role well and finds it interesting in daily meeting people from all walks of life and lots of different countries. On any given day he could be talking to people from different countries in Europe and Asia and from America and from all over Australia.
According to HR Administration, Kylie Savage, employees such as Ryan are appreciated daily as valued and important team members, they leave the first and last impression with our Guests. We are very lucky to have reliable, respectful and positive Trolley Staff always willing to go beyond their duties.
We value our close relationship with the Market’s managerial staff to identify job needs and provide suitable candidates to fill these roles and providing meaningful and on-going work to local Bunbury community members. We are also proud to support individuals like Ryan in finding work and becoming valued team members for local employers.
Daniel: Right back at it
After about eight weeks of mandatory leave due to Covid-19, Daniel is back at his job at the City of Bunbury Library.
Getting back to work
When asked how he felt to be back, he said: “it felt like it did when I first went through the door.” What’s astonishing is that Daniel first went through the door to his job over 20 years ago! It’s a fact that not many people in the labour market can say they’ve been at their job for this length of time. Kudos to Daniel, his Forrest Personnel Employment Consultant Donna, and his employer for this long-time three-way partnership.
One thing that happened on his first day back – which definitely would have been at odds from all those years ago – was a tour around the library with a staff member to talk about all the new procedures that are in place to manage in this strange new world: hand-washing practices, books in quarantine, which washroom to use, and vacating an aisle of books if there are two people already there.
Following his re-orientation, he told us it was great to “get stuck in, and not have to wait around.”
Not a holiday lover
We were curious to find out what Daniel got up to during his near eight weeks of leave. When we gently probed this question of Covid-19 self-isolation, it was clear that Daniel is not fond of holidays, or in this case, time off. “I’m a worker,” he told us.
What was missed?
What did he miss about his job at the library, we wondered? Apart from doing his job of putting books back in their rightful place, he missed his trips to and from work including taking the bus and strolling across the park from the bus stop near the “seniors’ place.”
Right back at it
More than twenty years is a long time on a job, and many storms would have been weathered. Getting right back at it after the turbulence of Covid-19 is a testament to Daniel’s work ethic, his tenacity and to the fact that he feels right at home in his beloved library.
Photo: Rob Cox, oxy images
Originally published on the ABC Open website as part of Portraits: In the Club
Nic finds his niche
In July Nicholas (Nic) from Australind will celebrate a year of doing work he loves at mining giant Worsley’s Alumina South 32 refinery.
Now aged nineteen, Nic was diagnosed with autism as a pre-schooler. After finishing Year 12 he explored customer service careers in the retail and recreation sectors. However, it was horticulture that really sparked his interest. While he’d proved his worth as a capable, hardworking team member wherever he worked, Nic was drawn to ‘hands on’ outdoor work.
Forrest Personnel partners with Worsley to place people in a range of roles at the refinery. According to Dino Otranto, Vice President Operations at South 32, the Forrest Personnel crew are,
“doing a brilliant job and their efforts are certainly being noticed by many people across the organisation.”
Nic has found his niche in the garden maintenance team.
Besides learning to operate gardening machinery safely and efficiently, Nic now knows heaps about cultivating and caring for landscaped gardens. His skilful contribution to keeping the gardens looking great wins compliments from colleagues and visiting contractors. He also gets to enjoy,
“seeing different things I’d never noticed before – like birds nesting and kangaroos lounging on the lawns.”
In a workplace culture that values inclusion and sustained community commitment, Nic is a valued employee who appreciates “being treated no differently from anyone else.”
He is recognised for being hard working, adaptable and keen to learn new skills. Moreover, his mum and dad and the rest of his family are really proud of Nic’s achievements at South32 and this means a lot to him.
She Stood in the Hot Sun
For Peter Raseta, finding a job through Forrest Personnel made a huge impact financially, but it was the ‘insignificant’ moments that created lasting memories.
Peter is a family man living with an acquired brain injury from a car accident. After moving to Bunbury last year to be closer to family, he was finding it difficult to get work.
But some quick thinking by Talia, his partner, introduced him to Forrest Personnel. 15 years ago, Talia had gotten a job through us, and she wanted Peter to have a similar experience.
Fast forward to 2019, and Peter talks openly about how much his new job with Westralian Cleaning Services means, and what a difference it’s making to the family budget.
Not only that, a recent audit of Peter’s cleaning work at Target by Westralian’s Manager, Tony Weatherstone, returned 97%; an outstanding result according to Tony.
Our GM, Brett Coate, recently got a chance to catch up. Peter talked about how grateful he was to be working. Then he mentioned the smiles from our team that meant so much when he was at his lowest points.
“Everyone at the front desk gives me such a warm welcome,” he said. “I’m made to feel special whenever I walk through the front door. They really listen to you.”
Then he spoke about his consultant, her caring nature and listening ear, always taking time to assist him. “She even stood by me in the hot sun while supporting me at work,” he said. “That said so much to me.”
When Brett asked further, Peter mentioned Donna Bastow. Talia said she also remembered Donna from 15 years ago. Life truly does move in circles.
There are a lot of big lessons we can learn from Peter’s story, and how seemingly little actions can mean so much in ways that words cannot.
At Forrest Personnel this makes us more determined than ever to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone who walks into our offices.
Brett asked Peter what he thought about it all. “Simple,” he replied. “I tell everyone living with a disability and looking for work to come to Forrest Personnel.”
Emma’s WorkABILITY Day experience
The first thing you notice about Emma is her amazing smile, which lights up her face, and her friendliness.
Getting work experience at Red Dot was certainly making her smile during WorkABILITY Day, and she was very happy to talk about her plans for the future.
Emma lives in Collie but plans to live in Bunbury when she finds a permanent job.
“When I find myself a job, my plans are to move into a unit in Bunbury where there are lots of opportunities for me to live an independent life,” she explained. There is a good public transport system, which is important for me as I don’t drive. There are also lots of activities to do in Bunbury, especially at the weekend, and I’d love to spend more time with my boyfriend too!”
Forrest Personnel Employment Consultant Donna Bastow said that Red Dot was her first port of call when she had clients that needed help returning to work from injury or entering the workplace for the first time.
“The Red Dot staff are so friendly and supportive to everyone we place here, and it is always a really good experience for them.” she said.
“The staff here are helpful, and our clients can learn all aspects of retail and how to engage with customers.
“We have a wonderful working relationship with the whole staff and management team.”
Manager of Red Dot Bunbury, Marcelle Hill said he had no absolutely hesitation in taking part in WorkABILITY Day.
“Red Dot has been working with Forrest Personnel for over three years, and our relationship with Donna is really good.
“We have had a lot of people who are returning to work after injuries come to Red Dot for experience back in the workforce, and other work placements during that time.”
WorkABILITY Day builds strong relationships
The City of Bunbury has been building strong relationships with Forrest Personnel over the past 12 months and was happy to be part of WorkABILITY Day in 2018.
The Bunbury Visitor Centre, located in the heart of the CBD, is often the first stop off point for visitors to Bunbury, with a high-level of customer service and friendliness very important skills needed to work in such a high-profile venue.
Lorelei Giorgi has studied Business Administration and has a Certificate IV qualification and having the opportunity to have some work experience at the Centre complemented plans she has for her future.
“I am very keen to work in administration in the future,” she said, “and it’s great that I have been given an opportunity to do that today. Tourism seems like a good industry to be in, and it might be a great way to improve my photography skills too. I have had a very good day, and this definitely helps me with my skills and working in a team.”
Senior Visitor Centre Officer Dee Tucker said Lorelei had fitted in well with the team and it was good to be able to help people with their career ambitions.
Visitor Centre Officer Erin Maynard, who was helping to show Lorelei how the visitor centre operated on day to day basis, said that Lorelei was doing well.
“Because of the weather, it hasn’t been a super busy day for visitors today,” she said, “but we have kept Lorelei busy sorting pamphlets and finding her way around the office.”
“Lorelei has been busy, and it’s been a great experience for her and for us.”
Cameron gets a taste for surveying during WorkABILITY Day
Cameron Atthowe is a qualified boilermaker/welder but a severe shoulder injury several years ago means that for a long term quality of life a new direction in his career is necessary.
Despite having numerous tickets, Cameron is looking for a position which will be sustainable long term, and the opportunity to have some experience at the City of Bunbury’s Works Depot has thrown up some exciting prospects. Cameron has been working with City of Bunbury Engineering Technical Officer, Aldo Saffera, at the new City Works Depot at Picton, using computerised drafting and engineering programs, and even had a small taste of surveying.
“To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about surveying as a possibility, but it looks really interesting,” said Cameron when asked what he thought of his morning’s work. “I have heaps of experience in all sorts of practical things like small engines, boiler making, and pretty much every civil industrial activity, with a background in motocross and my family’s business.”
“But surveying is not something I have come across before, and it may be something which I can maybe apply my extensive knowledge to.”
Mr Saffera said that Cameron had been very quick on picking up the computer drafting and engineering side of things, and that his practical experience was useful when it was applied to the theory.
“He knew what the terms were and what things looked like in real life, not just on a computer screen, which would be a great advantage if he took up something like drafting, engineering or surveying,” he said. “Cameron has lots of practical knowledge of civil construction and is very aware of things on the ground, which is really useful on this side of the industry.”
Employment Consultant, Shelley Mayo, said having the opportunity to spend a day at the City of Bunbury dept was a great for Cameron to have a chance to look at a work activity which was completely new for him, and to which he could apply possibly his vast experience.
“WorkABILITY Day is a great opportunity for people who are looking for a way to retrain to see new jobs which they might not have considered before,” she said.
“It’s also an opportunity to educate businesses and let them see that, just because someone has a disability, illness or injury, does not mean they do not have the potential to be an asset to their company.”
Accessibility is no obstacle for Jen
For Simon Dent, former Superintendent Production – Materials, the challenges around securing the right person for the job was the perfect chance for him to show South32 can walk the talk on Diversity and Inclusion.
Jennifer Ten Broeke started at Worsley earlier this month as a Supervisor Fixed Plant OBC and her 18 years of experience in maintenance and production supervisory roles at mines across Australia, placed her as the top candidate in the recruitment process.
Jenny said the day before her interview she felt she needed to disclose to Simon that she was in a wheelchair. Simon’s response was “why would that make a difference to your application”, and that was the beginning of a long challenging journey that finally saw Jenny return to an industry she had considered leaving because of negative perceptions around her mobility.
In 2004, Jenny was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and after a medication change a couple of years ago, Jenny was forced into a wheelchair because of muscle degeneration in her legs. The type of MS Jenny has is called remitting and means her positive attitude and determination, along with tweaks to her medication, she may regain mobility and be able to walk again.
If Jenny’s face is familiar, it may be because she is not new to the South32 family. She started work at Cannington (under BHP Billiton) nearly 20 years ago and has moved across the top of Australia working at Tanami in the Northern Territory and Tom Price in the Pilbara, before heading south to Worsley.
“There have definitely been some challenges around finally commencing my employment,” Jenny said. Simon has been incredible and worked so hard with Forrest Personnel and Job Access to help provide this opportunity.
“It’s those really simple and hardly obvious things to get on site that South32 worked on to make access easier. Like the width of the gate meant I couldn’t fit my chair through the turnstile, so we’ve worked out vehicle access to get to Raw Materials. Some ramps have been added, modifications made to toilet facilities and automatic doors installed to allow me to do my job,” Jenny said.
Forrest Personnel and Simon worked together to help fund an All-Wheel Drive wheelchair which will enable Jenny to not only get around the office but also out in the field.
Simon said the logistics are nearly complete and the “cool stuff” around using technology to help Jenny fulfil some of her job requirements can now kick in. “We have a fantastic innovation and technology team here at Worsley and I know they will help out with drones, cameras and other tech inventions to allow Jen to inspect the OBC.”
Jenny said that the mining industry can be a “throw away” industry at times and if you don’t fit into the right mould, you are quickly put on the scrap heap and not considered the right person for the job, despite your experience.
Kirsty achieves her childcare dream
When twenty-seven-year-old Kirsty joined Forrest Personnel she knew exactly what she wanted to do. She just didn’t know where to begin.
A year later, Kirsty is about to qualify for her dream job in childcare.
With her employment consultant’s support, Kirsty took her first quietly confident steps towards achieving her career goal. When her ‘Working with Children’ Card arrived in the mail, she was rapt.
Kirsty needed to prepare herself to study successfully. This meant completing a literacy course at South Metropolitan Youth Link (SMYL) in Bunbury before enrolling in Certificate III in Child Care. Despite not having a driver’s licence she found a way to travel to Bunbury from Donnybrook or Capel three times a week to attend her SMYL course.
Now her determination and resilience are paying off. Kirsty is about to graduate from JSW’s Certificate III in Child Care. Her lecturer like us is full of admiration and praise for Kirsty’s superb work ethic and sheer grit in pursuing her dream job. Furthermore, in her current work placement childcare centre the staff and kids love her.
Ben Counts his Blessings
Ben had a successful career in the Army Infantry prior to breaking his neck in an accident which left him as a C5/C6 quadriplegic. After a lengthy rehabilitation of 3 years in Perth, Ben and his wife Lauren moved down South to continue the rehabilitation process. Ben describes the years after his accident as being filled with some very low points. In the fourth year after his accident, Ben’s wife Lauren encouraged him to find a job.
Ben approached Forrest Personnel, who gave him the start he needed. Ben was employed on the front desk as an Administration Assistant. Ben had never worked in an office before and found it to be a real learning curve. Through the Federal Government’s Job Access program, Forrest Personnel organised workplace modifications to maximise Ben’s abilities in the workplace. After two years on reception, Ben was promoted to Safety Coordinator for Forrest Personnel’s 17 sites.
Ben is very grateful to Forrest Personnel who he says has “had a massive impact on my life and has given me a real sense of self-worth again. This is something that I was really lacking before, as I didn’t know what I would be able to do after the accident and who would want to employ a quadriplegic.”
It was while working for Forrest Personnel that Ben discovered his passion in life. An opportunity arose when a training company was looking for someone with a lived experience to present on access and inclusion. Ben fell in love with public speaking and has since moved on the become self-employed as a professional speaker, specialising in mental health, resilience and disability awareness. Ben names his company 30 Foot Drop to take ownership of the accident that changed his life.
To add to Ben’s success story, he could never have achieved what he has without the support of his loving wife Lauren and adorable 4 year old son Logan.
Maturity is an Asset – Veronica’s story
When Veronica first came to Forrest Personnel in Narrogin, she did not believe she would be employed by anyone because of her age. Added to this, Veronica’s illness prevented her from going back into her previous career in the retail industry. Veronica did not know what jobs she would be capable of doing, but she knew that she wanted to work again. After completing a Vocational Assessment with Forrest Personnel it became evident that Veronica enjoyed working with people and it was suggested that Veronica’s skill sets would be best matched to work as a Carer, either in Aged Care or in Disability Services. Veronica attended an interview at Life Without Barriers in Narrogin and secured a job as a Carer for a person with a disability.
Although Veronica was quite nervous about her new role, she used her past experience and transferrable skills in customer service to develop an excellent relationship with her client. Veronica loves her job and feels she is making a difference to someone’s life in a significant way. Her client is now more engaged with the community and Veronica feels valued, fulfilled and is better off financially.
Jessie Butcher – Hungry Jacks, Wendy – Manager
Jessie works in the food preparation section at Hungry Jacks in Busselton. Jessie’s job involves preparing food, pouring drinks, and cleaning. A three week ‘work trial’ organised by Forrest Personnel helped Jessie secure her job at Hungry Jacks. Her manager places high expectations on Jessie, encouraging her to learn and extend herself. Jessie hasn’t yet decided what she wants to do in the future, so is focusing on increasing her skills in food preparation and learning as much as possible. Forrest Personnel continues to work with Jessie to improve her communication and people skills, in preparation for her future career advancement.
A Valuable Employee
Jessie enjoys doing the jobs that many young people her age tend to avoid. Working at Hungry Jacks is a perfect fit for her as her difficulty with speech and shyness means relating to customers is still difficult. Jessie has some on-the-job support from Forrest Personnel which assists with any job training she needs. Her employer is so impressed by the job support experience that they have now asked Forrest Personnel to find them five more young employees with disabilities.
“Jessie and the other guys are doing great, and we get lots of support as a team.”
Elias’s work ethics and productivity has led to increased hours
Elias is a recent school leaver from Busselton who is working as a Trolley Collector while preparing for his future. After leaving school, Elias secured a work trial at Mitre 10 with the help of Forrest Personnel. Through this work experience he learned the value of customer service, attention to detail and use of equipment, which subsequently helped him secure his job as a trolley collector at the local shopping centre. His salary means he can save towards his goal to study Information Technology and pay for his driving lessons. Once he has his driver’s licence, he hopes to work as a courier which will provide a source of income to support him while studying. A Valuable Employee Elias prides himself on doing his job well and has created a game to keep him motivated. To win the game he must have more collected trolleys in the trolley bays than uncollected trolleys in the car park. This game demonstrates Elias’ impressive work ethic and encourages his productivity. Subsequently his hours have been increased by his employer. Elias is known and appreciated by customers, who have provided positive comments to the supermarket Manager.
“I like to work to help my family, because my mum has always helped me.”
Michele Gets a Lift Up
The installation of a chair lift at a Call Centre in Manjimup has improved the working life of employee Michele Steele. Michele and the Centre’s Senior Manager Maria Vellios approached Forrest Personnel in Manjimup about assistance with workplace modifications. Mrs Vellios said the steps at the workplace were a challenge and were jeopardising Michele’s job as it was difficult for Michele to climb the stairs safely. Through the Job in Jeopardy program, Forrest Personnel organised the installation of a chair lift, as well as hand rails in the bathroom and an ergonomic chair and footrest.
Michele said “The chair lift has made coming to work a lot better as it was a struggle walking up the steps, but the chair has made it safer and it has made my employment at the Centre more viable”.