Josh Ball, 21, of Capalaba put on his work boots and a high visibility vest on November 27 and mowed the lawn on top of Parliament House, Canberra.
In so doing, he fulfilled a long held dream and cemented himself as a competent and skilled lawn mower, praised for his ability by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and other dignitaries.
Mr Ball won the opportunity to mow the lawn chosen among 400 entrants with an intellectual disability in the ‘imagine what’s possible’ competition through the Endeavour Foundation. Mr Ball attends Endeavour’s learning and life centre at Alexandra Hills and also does supported work mowing for Bayside Respite centre.
Mr Ball’s mother Linda Ball said seeing Josh fulfill his dream was her proudest moment.
“He was star for a day. This was his opportunity to shine. He was a trooper and at the end he was thanked for a job well done. It was a beautiful experience for him and one which we hope might be a launching point for the career he’s after. Josh just loves to mow,” she said.
Mr Ball mowed the lawn with a Walker mower, which he learned to use in 2014 as a work experience student with the Redlands Research centre at Cleveland.
Research facility manager Larry Cooper said he felt proud that Josh had pursued his love of mowing.
“A couple of years ago Josh did some time with us and he loved mowing and was able to familiarise himself with the Walker mower here. Josh always did an excellent job with minimal guidance,” Mr Cooper said.
Mrs Ball said that having prior experience on this mower helped Josh complete the task.
Endeavour Foundation’s Interim Chief Operating Officer, Kerin McMahon said Mr Ball’s entry was a stand out.
“Josh is an inspiration for everyone, whether they have a disability or not. Of all our incredible entries, Josh’s dream was one of the standouts because it was so unique and highlighted one of his other dreams – to have gainful employment,” Mr McMahon said.
“Josh’s experience shows that when we focus on ability, we can achieve our dreams and Endeavour Foundation urges employers to enrich their workplaces by employing people with disability,” Mr McMahon said.
Mrs Ball said it was often difficult for people with a disability to find work.
“There is so much talent hidden there,” she said.
People aged between 15 and 64 years with disability have a workforce participation rate of 53 per cent, compared to 83 per cent for people without disability.