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Inside Lucy Sunley’s KINNECT-sponsored move from Northeast England to sunny Mackay

Making the decision to change careers can be hard – especially if your new job is on the other side of the world.

After deciding she could no longer take the cold, wet weather of her hometown in Northeast England, Lucy Sunley packed up her family and moved to sunny Queensland, taking a role as a Rehabilitation Consultant at KINNECT Mackay.

Lucy is an Occupational Therapist by trade, having studied at Teesside University in Middlesbrough. After graduating she took a rotational role at the NHS, covering everything from acute inpatient work for traumatic injuries to general medicine and elderly care. Following this, she worked in Community Rehabilitation and then went on to work in Social Services.

For a long time, Lucy and her family had been wanting to make the move to Australia. In a stroke of luck in 2019, a friend sent her a link for expressions of interest at a company called KINNECT.

After Lucy applied for the role, things moved very quickly. She attended a telephone interview and a few subsequent Skype calls to meet different members of the KINNECT team. Already well-aware of the visa process, upon receiving her job offer, Lucy got the ball rolling straight away.

Lucy said, “I had done all my research and prepared my visa application as well as starting the process to register my qualifications with the Australian health regulator, AHPRA.”

“KINNECT was also really quick to get the sponsorship process going, meaning I could start making arrangements for my family’s new life in Australia.”

As KINNECT has offices all over Queensland, Lucy was able to choose where she wanted to live. Knowing she was not a ‘city girl’, she did some research on the options available and landed on Mackay.

Upon her arrival, despite being new to Occupational Health, Lucy adapted quickly to her role at KINNECT and began enjoying the variety it offered.

“My skills as an OT were easily transferrable to this role, it was just a case of learning to write up different reports for employers or insurers,”

“And while workplace medicals were an entirely new area for me, KINNECT offered all the education and training I needed to upskill,” said Lucy.

Since joining KINNECT in February 2020, Lucy has achieved great success, being promoted to Team Manager and taking part in the Emerging Leaders Program for 2023.

“At KINNECT I also have the opportunity to go out and visit all these different workplaces, something I never could’ve done while working in a hospital in England. I’ve been to mine sites, airports, fire houses and even done an assessment on Daydream Island!”

“It’s so interesting to see different workplaces in action and no two days are the same,” said Lucy.

Outside of work, Lucy’s new life was a “shock to the system”, but she and her family have enjoyed every minute of it.

“It was a bit of an adjustment, getting used to the weather and the change in lifestyle, but overall, it’s been great, and apart from family and friends, we don’t miss our old life at all!” said Lucy.

“In Mackay we live five minutes away from the beach, which we often have to ourselves, and we spend our weekends enjoying the outdoors, exploring waterfalls and swimming holes or taking the dog for walks.”

Grateful to KINNECT for sponsoring her Australian visa, Lucy is a keen advocate for others to make the move.


If you’re an Occupational Therapist looking for a sea change, why not join us?

Explore the current vacancies listed on our Careers Centre.