When Tiffany Chalmers left high school she wasn't sure what her future would look like. Although she didn't know what her end goal was, she knew she wanted to work outdoors. After spending many years helping her dad with his landscaping business (which she loved!), she had a keen interest in horticulture and decided to pursue it.
Tiffany is now 23 years old and for the first time she has paid employment in a job she loves, but it wasn't easy. Having an intellectual disability made finding opportunities difficult and she struggled to find someone who would give her a go.
"For years I hit roadblocks and just couldn't catch a break. I had countless people tell me I couldn't do what I wanted to do. I was getting pushed into studying certificates I didn't need, all so people could tick a box and say they tried to help me find work," Tiffany said.
Feeling disheartened, Tiffany wasn't sure what to try next. Then, her family started working with Mylestones Employment and she thought she may as well give it a go. Within no time, her Job Development Officer Kim had found out what Tiffany was interested in and was searching for opportunities in the horticulture industry.
"Before this, I'd never had someone who was actually interested in my career goals. It felt empowering to be heard… and even just asked," Tiffany admitted.
"Next thing I know, I'm applying for a paid traineeship for a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management, and I got it! I've been doing the traineeship for six months now and I'm loving it. Every day is different. It’s definitely my kind of job."
Tiffany chose to chase her dream career, and she wants to encourage everyone with or without a disability to do the same.
"I know it's easier said than done, but I think it's so important to not let your disability define you," she said.
"If I could travel back to when I left school I'd tell myself not to be afraid of telling people what you want, and to grab any opportunity that comes your way because it might just take you to the next step."
Tiffany is going to continue chasing her career goals and keep moving forward with her traineeship.
"Who knows where I'll end up. All I know is I'm now on my way there."