Kyle Hanby and his mum Kim were interviewed in May 2020 about their experience with Green Connect, and to share Kyle’s story.

Kyle Hanby started work experience at the Green Connect farm for one day a week when he was in Year 12.

For him, it was the first time in many years that people treated him as Kyle, not Kyle with Asperger’s. Working at the farm also gave him the opportunity to turn an interest in propagating different plants into a career.

Kyle is now working part-time at Patio Plants in Camden and studying a Certificate 3 in Horticulture.

Back in 2018, school was a stressful environment and he’d been told he may have to repeat Year 12.

“I wanted to get into Green Connect so I could try something new and different.

“Working at the farm showed me a lot of things you don’t usually see – the variety in people’s life experiences, different cultures.

“It gave me a different perspective, and a break from the things I was finding stressful.”

His mum Kim said catching public transport from their home near Shellharbour to the farm in Warrawong was a big thing at first.

“Farm Manager Cal and the rest of the team were amazing. It was such a happy experience, for people to listen to his ideas, and push his boundaries a little. He felt like part of a family there.

“He was always on time, prepared to work in the rain, always happy and cheery.

“He worked with former refugees and learned about their experiences in life. He realised he had it pretty good.

“At one stage he had an opportunity to sell produce from the farm at the markets in Kiama and this really stretched his boundaries. I said to him: ‘Cal wouldn’t put you in that position mate, if he didn’t think you could do it’.”

Kyle went on to do some paid work with Green Connect at waste management events, then secured the job at Patio Plants. He now has a driver’s licence and a forklift licence.

“Green Connect supports people on many different levels, not just employment,” Kim said.

“We’re so very grateful that we had this experience.”

Read more about how Green Connect supports young people (and former refugees) through the YEIC.