When Luke introduced Lee to farmer George at Panshanger Estate outside of Launceston, Lee wasn’t what George had in mind for his new farmhand.
Several months on and Lee has found a new lease on life, his health has improved and he hopes to continue working with George for many years to come.
George Mills is the fourth generation Mills to farm and nurture the expansive grounds at Panshanger Estate outside Launceston in Tasmania.
When Lee arrived alongside MAX employer Partnership Manager Luke at the stunning Panshanger Estate outside of Launceston, he wasn’t what farmer George had in mind for his new farmhand.
George was looking for someone young who he could train up to help manage the gardens, the extensive crops including vegetables, poppies, cereals and seeds along with beef cattle, over 9000 Merino sheep for wool and lambs across over 6000 acres.
On the contrary, Lee stepped onto Panshanger in his late thirties, bringing with him extensive labouring experience across a range of industries – and an injury.
In a previous labouring role, Lee had sustained a severe spinal injury in the workplace.
He’d undergone a range of treatments including physiotherapy to help address the chronic pain in his back, shoulder and knees. Although his treatment has been successful, he continues to live with arthritis and long periods of sitting and bending cause him pain.
For Lee, this is likely to be a challenge for the long term, limiting the types of jobs he can comfortably do.
During his rehabilitation, Lee had resigned to not being able to work again. However, during his meetings with our Disability Employment Services (DES) team, Lee’s eyes were opened to the different types of jobs he might be able to take on despite his injury.
The team supported Lee to obtain licences for traffic control, and after working in this field for a time, it became obvious that the work was not going to provide the stability he needed to take care of his family.
At the same time, employer Partnership Manager, Luke Robinson had met with farmer owner George Mills, learning of his need for a farmhand.