Jack graduated in horticulture to work in GrowAbility, and he is one of the lucky ones

March 13, 2018 was a proud day for Jack Knight when he graduated with a second degree in Horticulture.

Disability Services Organization Christ Center Inc. is partnering with Sunraysia Institute of TAFE to run the course.

Mr. Knight has since been employed at Christie Center’s GrowAbility nursery, one day a week.

“My favorite job is probably to wash the pipes. It doesn’t matter if you are wet like today,” Mr Knight said.

Supported employee Jack Knight said he enjoys GrowAbility in all areas of work.(KBC Hollingworth, ABC Rural Tribulation)

The Christie Center acquired the nursery in late 2019, and it also stocked mostly indigenous species but also had a small number of ornamental plants.

Gardeners were major customers, but were bought by the local council, and government agencies in Victoria and New South Wales.

Mr. Knight helped deliver the plants but said some of them were too big to be used.

Across the Mildura, Sunraysia Residential Services runs a Bennett farm, where more than 1,500 eggs are harvested daily by people with disabilities.

Amanda Dolan works with the SSS team to collect, clean, inspect, and rank the eggs before they arrive at local cafes, restaurants, and stores.

Amanda Dolan has a tray filled with freshly laid eggs.
Amanda Dolan works on a Bennett farm that produces more than 1,500 eggs a week.(KBC Hollingworth, ABC Rural Tribulation)

“We use white eggs to find air bubbles and cracks. If they have problems, we can’t sell them,” said Dolan.

There are not enough job opportunities for people with disabilities

Not every person with a disability has these opportunities.

The Royal Australian Disability Commission, established in April 2019, found that 53.4% ​​of working-age people with disabilities will be unemployed by 2018.

Bennett Farm has become a popular place for community members to visit, with school teams and families gathering strawberries, feeding chickens and playing on the farm.

Chicken looks at the camera.
The SSS Bennett has an egg-laying breed of chickens.(ABC rural village Emma Brown)

It was planned to provide more employment opportunities for adults with disabilities and to have its own café.

ABC is partnering with International Day of Persons with Disabilities to celebrate the contributions and achievements of 4.4 million Australians with disabilities.


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