Job interviews can be nerve-wracking for many people, but for 18-year-old Yeppoon local Tyler Foster-Tout, the prospect was almost debilitating.
- Tyler-Foster-Tout started his mowing business with his family's help in July
- As someone who has autism and social anxiety, the work is helping him slowly build up his communication skills
- The business helped him gain independence, ahead of his high school graduation this month
As someone with autism spectrum disorder and social anxiety, he struggled to speak with anyone he did not know well.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get a part-time job, he was motivated, with the help of his family, to start a mowing business during his final year of school.
Tyler had been mowing lawns, with the help of his support worker, since July.
Ryan Tout, Tyler's father, said his son’s employment opportunities would have been slim-to-none without the business.
"It was, 'What are we going to do', and [so] we [thought]: Set up your own business. That seemed to be the only option at the time."
Growing the business
Tyler's mother Rhyanon Tout said her son can 'shut down' with any communication.
"[But] we didn't want him to do nothing, [so] we spoke to my dad and together we were able to pull some money together to buy him his trailer and his equipment," Ms Tout said.
"Now with the help of support workers he’s able to go out and earn a living."
Tyler said he enjoyed the business, even on the hot days.
"It was a little bit difficult at first, but it catches on, people get wind of it [and it grows]," Tyler said.
Though it was hard to start a business while still at school, Tyler said he 'pushed through', and ahead of his graduation this month, he encouraged other young people to think of starting a business.
"Just have a go, get at it and keep at it."
Mr Tout said his son was eager to earn money and be as independent as possible.
"Obviously he doesn't want to rely on us as parents, and the way to go forward [and be] independent, is to earn your own money," Mr Tout said.
"Tyler uses the mower and I kind of help, and his support workers will help with the whipper snipping sides of things."
Mr Tout said the business was ideal for someone with social anxiety, but he encouraged his son to have some interaction with clients, including saying hello and goodbye.
"We're going to build Tyler's confidence up to hopefully speak a bit more, but it’s a slow process.
"[But we] really appreciate all the support that he’s hard from Yeppoon, Rocky and even out at Gracemere."