“Work makes me really happy.” Jack’s story

Supported employee Jack is part of a creative project helping customers find the perfect plants at genU’s busy nursery in South Geelong.

Jack is one of twelve nursery employees with disability involved in the initiative.

“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…it’s a good way for me to learn most of the plants out here,” Jack said.

The valuable project is one of many ways the team are building their skills and confidence on the job.

“One of the goals in their individual employment plans was to identify plants and plant names so this initiative came from that,” genU Support Services Coordinator, Katie Redfern said.

“Everyone has had the opportunity to be involved, including Isaac who is a super talented artist and has drawn snippets of the plants and Jack – we’ve really seen his confidence and knowledge grow.”

Jack enjoys a variety of work at the nursery while he develops his knowledge about plants.

“Work makes me really happy; it’s a reason to get up in the morning,” Jack said.

“I get to do cutting and potting and I’m learning the botanical names and all the different things about the plants so there is quite a bit of variety. I get really good support and enjoy the scenery and working outdoors.”

genU Nursery Assistant Coordinator, Alison Pascall said the wholesale nursery completes large business contracts however is also open to the public as a retail nursery.

“One hundred thousand tubes a year are produced by us and we propagate a huge range of Indigenous stock and Australian natives,” Alison said.

“The team also participate in indoor plant watering and maintenance at companies like TAC and Barwon Water and do some garden bed maintenance.

“It‘s work with a strong purpose and gives employees the opportunity to build their confidence and skills while being supported to reach their goals.”

If you live with disability and are wondering what’s next, supported employment is a great way to get into the workforce.

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