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Grace got a big surprise recently when she discovered she’d been nominated by her Area Manager, Lucy Power, for an ARPA Excellence in Workplace Rehabilitation Award. Here she talks to us about how it felt to be a finalist and how she got into this role in the first place.

Being nominated for this Award during the COVID pandemic is impressive. How did it feel? 

Honestly, I was so surprised and delighted to have received this nomination.  It’s a win for the whole Cairns team. All of my colleagues have been so supportive of me; Melena, Steve, Liam, Megan, Tegan and Jade and it just would not have happened without their support. I am also incredibly grateful for the ongoing training and guidance from Lucy and Nikki. The Cairns team is really special and everyone looks after each other. 2020 was a difficult year and we did need to think creatively and flexibly about how to achieve return to work outcomes, especially given the uncertain, frequently changing and often challenging environment. To receive the ARPA nomination is very humbling. 

How did you get into Workplace Rehab? 

In school, I knew that I wanted to study a course that was medical or movement-related. I started Physiotherapy at UniSA but after two years, found that Exercise Physiology would be the right course for me.  

I am originally from Adelaide and started out as an Exercise Physiologist in private practice and a hospital-based environment. I moved to Cairns three years ago to be with my partner who had been living in Cairns for five years (he is originally from Adelaide too), and I came across KINNECT when I was looking for work. I met Steve Hickeat my interview and I remember feeling impressed by his professionalism and how interesting the role sounded.  

What was surprising to me is how much the industry enabled me to develop a new clinic skillset – including file management, stakeholder and professional relationship managementI enjoy the variety of services that we provide at KINNECT, from pre-employment assessments to project management. I love that I am always learning in my job role, which keeps things engaging 

Tell us about working in Cairns 

I love living in Cairns, it is a fascinating place with a stunning environment. One of the things you learn about Cairns is just how laid-back people are, and often find locals running on ‘Cairns-time’, so being flexible and able to adapt quickly is a must in this roleI really enjoy exploring Cairns’ walking trails, beaches and waterfalls 

One of the surprising things about working in Occupational Rehab is just how much I travel during a normal day at work, compared to when I worked in private practice. I have been to some amazing and interesting places; like banana farms, the Cairns Aquariumbeachside resorts, sugar mills and a chicken processing facility! KINNECTers say there are no two days that are ever the say, and they are absolutely right. 

What’s next for you career-wise? 

I am currently studying my post-grad certificate in work, health and safety at CQU, which I think will compliment nicely with my work at KINNECT. In the meantime, I love my job and the people I work with. I meet so many different people all the time and it is incredibly rewarding. 

Find out more about our ARPA QLD Award finalists for 2021 and read more about the ARPA QLD Awards for Excellence on the ARPA website.



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