Workers show their ability

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Forrest Personnel employment coordinator Jacqueline Keeling, cafe employee Sophie Lindsay, WorkABILITY Day participant Hayley Green, and cafe owner Raj Palan get ready for the lunchtime rush at the Funkee Monkee in Bunbury.
Camera IconForrest Personnel employment coordinator Jacqueline Keeling, cafe employee Sophie Lindsay, WorkABILITY Day participant Hayley Green, and cafe owner Raj Palan get ready for the lunchtime rush at the Funkee Monkee in Bunbury. Credit: ipCreative

Businesses throughout the South West opened their doors this week to offer work experience to people living with health conditions, disabilities or injuries as part of Forrest Personnel’s WorkAbility Day.

Pete’s Chop Shop, Optus, Funkee Monkee, Collie Hills Village and several employers within Vasse Village all took part in the day, an event designed to bring local employers and jobseekers together for one day across Forrest Personnel sites.

Funkee Monkee owner Raj Palan said everybody deserved as many opportunities as possible.

“It’s very hard to come back into the workforce,” he said.

“So what I do is give people an opportunity and grow them from there, it’s a long process, but you have to take care of them and talk to them.”

This year’s opportunity was given to Hayley Green, who worked the morning shift meeting and greeting patrons at the front of house.

“She went fantastic,” Mr Palan said.

Further afield in Collie and Vasse, more than 30 jobseekers were taken in between Collie Hills Village and Vasse Village.

Collie Hills Village has previously employed up to 40 per cent of its staff through Forrest Personnel, something client liaison manager Ann Wheeldon wore as a badge of honour.

“It gives an opportunity for people to try jobs they may not have had experience in before, and gives me an opportunity to see what skills people have,” she said.

“We’re looking at increasing our staff numbers, so there are opportunities for participants to gain employment.”

Vasse Estate community development consultant Nicole Andrijevic said the event was an extension of the community coming together to raise awareness of disabilities.

WorkAbility Day has been a prominent event on the Forrest Personnel calendar since 2017 with many of this year’s businesses having taken part since its inception.

Forrest Personnel chief executive Anna Bagshaw said it was fantastic to see businesses supporting the initiative on such a wide level.

“Our participants gain a lot from having the opportunity to be included at so many levels of an organisation,” she said.

“It’s also a great opportunity for employers to experience the benefits that individuals with health conditions, disability or injury, can bring to a workplace.”

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