Natasha Robins – Trainee of the Year

Published on: 20 Sep 2022

At the 2022 Tasmanian Training Awards, Natasha Robins was crowned the Trainee of the Year.

Natasha completed her Certificate III in Dental Assisting at TasTAFE and is employed by Work and Training at host employer Hopkins Dental in Hobart.

Prior to starting her studies in Dental Assisting, Natasha was already familiar with TasTAFE as she had previously completed a Certificate IV in Business.

“I did all my learning through TasTAFE. I was working with (teacher) Tracey Laws, and she was just absolutely incredible. She was always available to help me with my learning and happy to answer any questions day or night.”

Natasha had previously worked a number of years in hospitality, and following her Certificate IV was eyeing off an administrative position.

“I applied for a Business Traineeship position through Work and Training and found out I was overqualified for the position as I already had my Certificate IV. So I was asked how I felt about dental assisting” Natasha said.

Dental was not something she had ever considered before, but she decided she would give it a try.

“I actually had a fear of the dentist before I started dentistry. Dental wasn’t something I’d ever considered but it was the polar opposite from hospitality so I thought I would give it a go..”

Once she put her name down, things started to move very quickly “About a week later I had three job interviews. A week after that, I had three job offers. Which was pretty amazing for me. I responded really well to the vibe at Hopkins Dental and really thought I would fit in there so I chose them.”

Natasha became very invested in her study, so much so that she was reading her textbooks in the hospital hours after having her appendix removed to prepare for her next assignment.

While her whole experience starting her career in dental has been a bit of a whirlwind, she said perhaps the biggest shock she has had has been winning the Trainee of the Year award.

“I was in disbelief (when I was nominated for the awards). I was just hoping to get shortlisted, I thought that would be the greatest achievement I could get. Then I was a finalist, and at the awards night I was just so proud of myself to make it that far. When they called my name at the awards night, I had to remember what my name was. I couldn’t believe it.”

When she’s not working at Hopkins Dental, Natasha gives up her own time to volunteer at The Butterfly Foundation, providing support to people with eating disorders and body image issues. As someone who has previously benefitted from the Foundation, she is keen to provide the same support she was given there.

“I was unaware of how common these disorders were until I was in the clinic… It’s a really good area to be able to go and share your story in a really safe environment, and to hear other people’s stories as well. It’s really reassuring to know you’re not alone with it.”

Natasha will represent Tasmania at the Australian Training Awards in Adelaide in November.