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Learra Radke may only be 20-years-old, but what she lacks in years she makes up for in maturity, work ethic and practicality. It’s why her employers, Dr David Bartholomeusz and his wife Kelly, have no qualms leaving her in charge of their Gleneagle-based vet business. Last week she was named Young Apprentice/Employee of the Year at the Scenic Rim Business Excellence Awards.


Anyone running a small business knows that finding great staff can be the difference between success and failure.

Kelly Bartholomeusz of Hoof n Paws Vets in Gleneagle says it quickly became apparent that their new trainee vet nurse was not your average teenage employee.

Kelly says in three years Learra Radke has become an integral part of the business and is fantastic with both the human clients and the furry, four-legged customers.

“Learra finishes her three-year traineeship in February,” says Kelly.

“She’s just fantastic with the clients, she’s really fabulous with the animals and she looks after the business side too.

“She’s really good at mentoring the work experience students and she’s now our assistant manager – at the age of 20.

“I can leave the clinic knowing she has everything under control.”

But Learra’s talents don’t end there. She has successfully implemented a Puppy Preschool program that is offered at the clinic and through a local dog obedience club.

“It’s really popular and a real credit to her that she’s done this,” says Kelly.

“Our business is all about relationships. We’re not based in a shopping centre or on a highway so we say the phone is the window to our business. We try to give every person our best when we speak to them.”

Hoof n Paws Vets had an early focus on equine treatment but following the outbreak of Equine Influenza and later the Hendra Virus, the owners decided to focus more heavily on small animals.

The business employs four vets and three vet nurses.

Image: Learra Radke from Hoof n Paws Vets with Cr Virginia West and Paul Daly, chairman of award sponsor ETEC Group.