It takes people of all vocations to shape Adelaide’s neighbourhood of ideas including those who would rather wield a leaf blower and shovel over a keyboard and mouse.
Jamie, Harrison and Augustin love their hands-on work at Lot Fourteen where they’re learning the ropes of garden and grounds maintenance from supervisor and horticulturalist Kane Richards.
Their employer, yourtown, has signed a one-year service agreement with Lot Fourteen to provide ground maintenance services, and the trio is the first to reap the benefits.
In fact, Harrison has decided to give up warehousing altogether after experiencing what it’s like to work in the great outdoors.
“It’s taught me that I definitely prefer being outdoors on my feet and in the sun,” he said.
“I get to do all different kinds of tasks and I’m learning about plants and taking care of them too.”
Lot Fourteen, home to some of the world’s fastest-growing industries including space and defence, creative and immersive industries, and artificial intelligence, will house the Australian Space Agency later this year.
The yourtown social enterprise employment team is responsible for the upkeep of Lot Fourteen’s neat and tidy appearance for the benefit of tenants and visitors who hail from Australia and other parts of the globe.
“We’re doing a bit of everything at Lot Fourteen — mulching, mowing and learning about workplace routines and machinery skills,” said Kane.
“The aim is to help them gain the technical and soft skills required in the workplace so that they can be successful when they’re ready to transition out of the program.
“They’re doing a great job so far and we’ve become a close-knit team.”
Kane is an ideal role model.
He retrained as a horticulturalist several years ago after deciding to get out from behind a desk as an IT worker.
“I understand young people who aren’t entirely sure which direction to turn when starting out in the workforce,” Kane said.
The team recently completed beautifying works on a garden bed on North Terrace where they repurposed plants from an area of the precinct scheduled for demolition and refurbishment.
“We saved the plants and replanted them which was good,” Augustin said.
Asked what he enjoyed most about the program, he replied, “We were all shy at first [when we met] but we’ve built up our communication skills and now we have a lot to talk about.”
Lot Fourteen Project Director for Renewal SA Daniel Redden is thrilled with the team’s work.
“To have yourtown at Lot Fourteen providing this service, and opportunities for young people to develop new skills for a career, is fantastic,” Daniel said.
“Lot Fourteen is a game-changer for South Australia — it’s a high-profile site right in the city centre, so it’s important for the public realm to look as good as possible whilst construction is underway.
“I congratulate the yourtown team for their efforts and flexibility in achieving this goal.
“They’re doing a great job.”
The service agreement between yourtown and Lot Fourteen is supported by Renewal SA’s Works Program.
The Renewal SA Works Program delivers training and employment opportunities to people who might otherwise experience challenges studying or (re)entering the workforce.