Qualification | Employment | Independence
Mitchell Sutton-Coombes shares his story of personal and professional growth against the odds, thanks to our unique nursery, FSG Tropicana Nursery.
Mitchell knew from an early age that he loved plants, and that he would rather be outside working with his hands, than learning in a class-room. “Some of my best memories are of helping my parents in the garden at home,” says Mitchell, otherwise known as Mitch.
But by the time he left school, Mitch was so discouraged by negative peer pressure that he had almost given up hope of ever becoming a gardener. That was exacerbated by his concern about not being able to raise the funds necessary to study horticulture.
Mitch connected with FSG’s Tropicana Nursery, met Lachlan Prindable and it was then that his hopes were restored and his path to opportunity opened.
Set on just under 10 acres, FSG’s Tropicana Nursery on the Gold Coast is a social enterprise with a difference. The staff have been opening their doors for people with a disability for the past 5 years.
“Our nursery is a unique facility where people with a disability, who may never have otherwise had the opportunity, can learn horticultural skills and business management skills, like how to process, package and distribute orders. All at their own pace in an inclusive and encouraging environment. Our trainees also enjoy the social interaction, learning social skills and independence, which always have a positive impact on people’s confidence, as well as their overall growth in life,” says Lachlan.
“People, like plants, need space to grow and challenges to overcome before they develop new skills and expectations of a future,” says Lachlan.
Mitch is one such gentlemen. His personal and professional growth, when given the opportunity, space and assistance, is remarkable.
“Together we set out to identify Mitch’s passions, his hopes and his dreams then we worked together to achieve them, one step at a time,” says Lachlan.
Just 12 months later, Mitch has completed a Certificate II in Horticulture through FSG’s Learning and Development Centre, has secured a full-time position at the Nursery, and now drives to and from work in his very own ute.
“FSG helped me to enrol in a Certificate II in Horticulture, which I have finished. I now have a job, could afford my own ute and I love it,” says Mitch.
“It just goes to show that you cannot force plants or people to grow, but you can definitely create the right conditions for growth to occur naturally, like it did for Mitch. These days, he gets up every morning with a newfound sense of purpose, independence, and achievement,” says Lachlan.
Lachlan can always rely on Mitch to select the very best plants to go out for each order. “He’s pretty much completely self-sufficient and autonomous in his role now. It’s definitely something he’s passionate about and that’s half the battle – combining passion and skills with something that provides employment.”
“If you have an opportunity to get your hands dirty then go for it! The people I have met at FSG are friendly and welcoming, and working here has been wonderful for me,” says Mitch.
Contact our STEP Team to find out more information on 07 5500 7899 or [email protected]
FSG IS A NDIS REGISTERED SERVICE PROVIDER