Amechai gives green thumbs up to his new job
Amechai, aka ‘Master Chai’, is one extremely active 21-year-old and is proof that having autism doesn’t have to stop you from living a full life. When he’s not working through his horticulture traineeship with Mount Gambier City Council, Amechai’s competing in fun runs, hiking, playing soccer, camping, drawing, making movies, growing his own fruit and vegetables, caring for his chickens and training his Golden Border Collie, Chaser. And as if that’s not enough, he’s also studying a modified university course in art and digital media.
WISE Employment first met Amechai back in 2013 and has since seen him flourish in his role at Mount Gambier City Council where he’s responsible for keeping public gardens tidy and in good health.
‘I like being able to work outdoors and learning new skills which I can use outside of my job,’ says Amechai. ‘Working’s also given me something useful and interesting to do.’
‘I have learnt new skills like planting and pruning, and I sometimes help relatives and friends with their gardens. I also grow fruit trees and have several vegetable garden beds growing thanks to the knowledge I have gained from my job.’
Rick, Team Leader of Parks and Gardens Maintenance at Mount Gambier City Council works closely with Amechai and over the past few years has seen his confidence grow.
‘He’s been good for us and the Council’s been good for him,’ says Rick. ‘When he first turned up he was shy and reserved, he hardly said boo. Now if someone has a cheeky comment to make, Amechai will come back with one too.’
For Amechai the team at work has not only helped teach him new skills on the job, but they’ve also been a great support.
‘If I do well at anything in the community, everybody at work soon knows and congratulates me,’ says Amechai.
For the most part, this congratulation is in relation to Amechai’s sporting success. He’s an accomplished Special Olympian and has represented the state playing in the soccer squad at the Asia Pacific Games.
‘I am looking forward to hopefully coming first in the 1500m and 5000m [runs] at the 2018 Special Olympics National Games and trying out winter sports this year.’