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Nov 12th 2019 Back to latest news

Work Experience Placement Given The Green Light 20 Years Ago
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Zena and an alpaca at Farmer PalmersWork Experience Placement Given The Green Light 20 Years Ago when Zena approached Farmer Palmers. “After all, if you don’t ask you never know if it is possible!” was Zena’s approach.

Getting to Know ZENA from our Animal Barn Team.

My life dramatically changed in 1995 when I needed to change my career due to family circumstances. So I decided to go back to college at 29 years old. Everyone else in the class was 17 or 18 and YOUNG! I decided to go into animal care because that was what I loved most. The challenge was to find a “Work Placement” which was quite a new concept in 1999. I’d heard of this new little open farm in Organford and could drive so I decided to go out there and try to speak to the proprietor. This was about August 1999.

It was a Sunday, Sandra Palmer was there and she saw me. I explained I needed a work placement for college and her response was “Work placement, what’s that then?” When I clarified what would be involved she said “Well, I’ll get back to you Zena” In those days we had no mobile phone, only a landline.

But true to her word, she contacted me and saw the potential for their business. She said, “Let us try this work placement idea and see how it goes”. I was the first Work Experience Placement Student Farmer Palmers ever had way back in 1999.Zena From Farmer Palmer's Animal Team

It’s Not Really Working, I love What I Do, Even Though It Is Hard

I worked here for 2 years, I received a little bit of petrol money. When I left they gave me a little gift and I felt really appreciated, and I had achieved my qualifications. I then went away and brought my children up for a few years. As they got older I realized I needed to work but could only do two and a half days a week. Having left on great terms I thought I’d call Sandra at Farmer Palmers again. We had stayed in touch and she was very obliging realizing my qualification and maturity was an asset, so they found me a position in the Animal Barn. I was really happy working with Pauline.

I started in Feb 2005 and worked from work placement to my current role as a Supervisor.  My good work colleague, Tina, often ribs me that, back then, she had to watch me wave goodbye on a Thursday afternoon on my short week whilst she did a 5 day week!

I love my job, especially the people and get great joy from kind customer service. This enables me to constantly learn and improve myself.

I have been here for 16 years in total. I don’t know where the time has gone. My children have grown up. My grandchildren are amazing. When they visit they always want to come to Farmer Palmers. I always bring them and it’s amazing as a customer with my family, relaxed and definitely not a busman’s holiday.

The Tale Of The Lost Penguin

“Hi, Sandra today at 1.15 pm I did the bumpy tractor-trailer ride as always. It was fairly busy lots of smiley people and children boarded the trailer all excited. I did the eight-minute all-round bumpy Tractor trailer ride. When I let everybody off they were all still laughing a smiling and thanking me. Except for one little girl about six in a red coat who was sobbing.

Oh dear, I said my tractor ride wasn’t that bad surely? And then a lady with another little girl whom the little six-year-old was out for the day with said she has lost her little grey penguin! He has fallen off the bumpy tractor trailer ride. Oh dear, I said “I’ve never had that happen before”. The lady said he is a very important penguin because if the little girl hurts herself, he is her comfort buddy.

No worries I said, I’ll walk up the track and look for him as it’s no public access along there. So off I went on foot I got right to the wibbly wobbly bit an that’s the end off the road. No sign of Mr penguin. So I walked around an back down and as I looked across the water of the wibbly wobbly ditch there was Mr penguin hanging on the grass verge by a flipper!

An inch more he would have been swimming! I picked him up, not a mark on him. As I got back to the woodland walk the family were searching and the little girl they were looking after was still sobbing. As I handed her the penguin her whole face lit up, she was smiling again…. Mr penguin was back safe where he belonged! What an adventure he had had!”

Additional Facts:

Work Experience Placement Given The Green Light 20 Years Ago, Sandra Palmer-Snellin.

Because demand for places often outstrips the opportunities, we recommend approaching employers months in advance.

Sandra gives talks on Diversification and Business to Schools and works with Youth Engagement Programmes locally.

Zena came to us whilst on a Kinston Maurward Course.