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Jack finds success in gardening

Jack and Alby his boss kneeling side by side smiling and outside with grass in front

Jack is a 20 years old and works as a gardener with Concerns R Growing. In his final years of school at Berendale School in Victoria, Jack was offered the opportunity to participate in Ticket to Work. As he has autism, the local Ticket to Work network brought together various community agencies that could support his transition from school to employment.

In order to prepare for the world of work and identify areas of interest Jack undertook work experience across a number of sectors including retail, customer service and aged care. Eventually he decided to pursue work in gardening and obtained a traineeship in Horticulture through Ticket to Work.

Through the expertise of its members the local network supported Jack through work preparation, problem-solving and developing confidence in the workplace. The network also worked with Jack’s employer, Concerns R Growing, to ensure that the employer was equipped to support Jack in the workplace and to manage any challenges.

After successfully completing his Traineeship and a Certificate II in horticulture Jack was offered an ongoing position with Concerns R Growing who were pleased with his work and felt that he was a good fit for the company. Jack also started and successfully completed a Certificate III in Horticulture.

After completing secondary school over two years ago, Jack continues to work as a gardener with Concerns R Growing two days per week. His main responsibilities are mowing, using the whipper snipper, ride-on mowing and hedge trimming. Jack is extremely happy with his role.

 “Ticket to Work gave me options and allowed me to find the right job for me. I have learned not to be scared if I make a mistake and not be afraid to ask lots of questions.  I don’t think I did that much before.”

Having worked with other young people with disability, Jack’s employer Alby acknowledges that each young person faces challenges in a new role. Despite this, he says the satisfaction gained from seeing Jack and others make progress is worth the time spent at the beginning.

“He’s come a long way and grown as a person. He’s always been a confident guy but I’d say he’s more confident now.”

Alby is enthusiastic about Jack’s contribution to the business.

“Jack works pretty independently and can use just about all the tools. He can use a ride-on mower by himself, the whipper snipper and blower. He can do just about anything.”

Jack is thrilled with the level of independence that he has gained through his work.

“The job I got through Ticket to Work is helping me to save for a house, insurance and other goals.”

Jack also does acting classes one day per week and makes art in his spare time, as well as helping friends with painting and maintenance jobs.  He’s looking for extra work that will allow him to be around animals. Jack is starting Karate this year and may also return to study. His long-term goals are to buy a house and maybe a new car, to live on his own and one day start a family.

Jack’s ultimate dream is to work as an actor, and believes that the confidence and communication skills he has developed as a result of Ticket to Work will certainly help him to pursue this goal. He is under no illusions about the difficulty of getting into the entertainment industry, however, so thinks he might continue to work in the horticulture industry as he has realised he is “quite good at it and there is lots of work in the area too.”

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