Brett’s new Landscape Labourer role is just what he was looking for

08 June 2022

Brett’s new Landscape Labourer role is just what he was looking for

Health challenges meant that Brett had needed to leave several jobs that he physically couldn’t sustain. He lives with arthritis in his fingers and tinnitus in his ears and had recent gall bladder surgery. His love of bees and roses combined with his labourer skills led CoAct/Interact to secure Brett a role with Albury Wodonga’s SLIDE Living as a Landscape Labourer. He’s been working full-time since February. Brett is now loving the social connection of his work, the creativity of the role, and his new financial independence.

For several years, Brett had experienced financial and health challenges. He also started to experience a mental health condition.

Brett had moved to a farm 30km out of Wodonga, on his own. He had no family in the area and his home life was also in transition. This was very isolating.

For some time, he separated himself further from the world to survive. He took some time out from work to focus on his mental health. His dog, a kelpie who he’s had for 12 years, was a great support.

Brett found social connections by selling honey

On what he used to call ‘Dole Day’ each fortnight, Brett would have a piccolo coffee in town to people-watch and have a chat. This helped with all-important socialisation while he wasn’t working.

He also decided to supplement his government allowance by selling home-grown honey. This gave him an opportunity to connect with his community, including local homeless people. He loved having the chance to listen to their stories. Brett says, “Give people five minutes to talk, and then listen. A good set of ears is hard to find.”

He’d love to be able to live on his honey income but it isn’t possible with the ten hives he has. He’s chosen to keep it as a hobby.

Unpacking Brett’s ideal role through conversation

Brett knew he needed an ongoing job and registered with CoAct/Interact in Albury Wodonga. He was matched with employment consultant, Katia, who got to know Brett and work out what long-term job was right for him based on his skills, interests, and experience.

Katia knew that Brett needed time to focus on his health and get to a stage mentally where he was ready for work. Katia supported him through this challenging time.

Brett and Katia’s aim was working towards a role he could handle based on his physical capabilities. He’d done a lot of labouring and had plenty of experience in mechanical work, spray painting and even cutting cars up. However, he knew he wouldn’t be physically able to do his previous jobs or sustain that kind of pace.

Finding the right role with the right connections

Katia saw a Landscape Labourer position with SLIDE Living advertised on Facebook and within a local jobs group. She called the owner Greg, to talk about the role and work out if it was something that sounded right for Brett.

They then arranged a meeting and he got the job. Now, as well as a regular income, Brett’s work is bringing him ongoing social connections. This includes Greg’s own family who have taken him under their wing and included him in their Easter celebrations.

I’ve been extremely happy with Brett and see great value in employing him. He has been extremely reliable and works to a high standard. I am very thankful for you recommending him.

Greg, SLIDE Living owner.

Greg drives Brett to work and they both enjoy the companionship of the 30-minute car trip. Brett also loves the talks they have at work. He enjoys promoting the business by giving out his business cards. He’s invested in the business’ success.
Brett’s happiest when he’s working as it gives him purpose and direction. What he enjoys most about his landscape labourer position includes:

  • Working together as a team of three
  • Brainstorming creative solutions for each project
  • Creating high-quality landscapes – they agree it’s got to be spot-on or redone
  • Travelling to different places, meeting people, and working on new designs on daily
  • Communicating with his boss
  • Receiving outstanding feedback when work surpasses expectations.

Brett’s now physically able to do this job full time. While his hands can freeze up if he uses a shovel too much, he’s learned how to mix up tasks to make sure that they’re not repetitive and give his arthritis a break.

He says,

Thanks to CoAct / Interact for being patient in helping me find a job – one I can do within my physical abilities.

We can help you find a job you love and guide you through the support available for working with a diagnosed mental health condition, illness, injury or disability. Register with us today. Our support is free and includes working out what’s next, writing a resume and applying for jobs. We’ll even continue to support you once you’re at work. Register here.


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