Supported employee Jack is smiling and standing in the shade house holding a plant. He is surrounded by trays of other plants in small black plastic tubs.

Jack cultivates his passion for plants in supported employment

For Jack, his job at a busy nursery in South Geelong gives his day purpose and meaning.

“Work makes me really happy. It’s a reason to get up in the morning.” 

“I get to do cutting and potting…so there is quite a bit of variety. I get really good support and enjoy the scenery and working outdoors,” he said. 

Jack lives with disability and is part of a team of supported employees at the busy nursery. He has been part of a recent nursery initiative, linked to his NDIS employment goals, creating factsheets and signage designed to educate staff and customers.

“The information sheets make it much easier for customers to find out about the plant – what is the best climate, where it’s best to go…and it’s a good way for me to learn most of the plants out here,” Jack said.

The project has inspired a growing interest in horticulture for Jack.

“I feel more confident identifying the plants I am working with. I am also more interested in the plants and how they grow.”

In supported employment Jack and other workers with higher support needs can access additional training, mentoring, and practical assistance including workplace modifications. It is one option for people with disability to be able to experience the benefits of employment: earning money, building valuable experience and skills and developing social networks.

Some supported employees value the career stability that longer term roles provide, for others it can be a stepping stone to move into the broader mainstream workforce.

For genU Nursery Assistant Coordinator, Alison, her role combines supporting employees with disability and her passion for horticulture.

“In a year we produce more than 100,000 Australian native plant tubes,” she said. “We often go out on field trips collect seeds and cuttings to propagate the plants. Jack really takes notice of plant characteristics now, and using what he has learned during the project he is enjoying being able identify many of the indigenous plants that we grow.”

Alison and her colleagues aim to create a safe, and positive environment where people can build confidence and careers.

“The supported employment at the nursery is real and meaningful work with a strong purpose. Employees get the opportunity to build their confidence and skills while being supported to reach their goals.”

If you have NDIS funding for employment supports, talk to us to find out if genU Supported Employment is right for you. We have a variety of roles available in Geelong, Colac, Rosebud and Campbellfield.


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