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APG south team member and single mum Kathy Hutchins shows that balancing parenthood, running a busy household, and living with an intellectual disability is no barrier to carving out her dream career.

If there's one thing Kathy wants to pass on to her children, it's that you can do anything you set your mind to.

The mum of five works two days a week at APG South, where she helps keep verges, lawns and gardens in top shape using her mulching, power blowing, whipper snipper and mowing skills.

"Having five children between 12 and 28 years old, with three of them still living at home, certainly keeps my hands full!" she said.

"I like working because it shows my children that I can go out and work hard, while also being there for them."

Kathy has worked at APG for two years, but her story at Bedford began some 30 years ago when she joined our manufacturing team as a teenager.

"I was the only female team member at the time. I always say that just because you're a female, don't let that stop you ... you can do anything."

Kathy then transferred to Packaging in 2014, followed by a move to APG to pursue a new challenge.

"I love the change of scenery every day. We have a lot of fun and I enjoy working with everyone here."

Working at Bedford is also a family affair for Kathy, with her eldest son James working full­time in the Packaging team at Elizabeth for the past ten years.

"I'm really glad he's there, and I'm very proud of him," Kathy said.

Working outside a game-changer

Switching the office for outdoors has done wonders for Kathy's physical and mental health.

"My vitamin D levels used to be very low, and these have improved since working outside.

The style of work (in Packaging) wasn't suiting me - I wanted to do hands-on work and get outside.

"I'm happy that I could talk to people at Bedford about this and that they helped me make the change."

"I've experienced depression in my life, so being able to get outside, have a job, and still make time for my own activities during the week helps with that a lot."

When she's not working, you'll find Kathy flaunting her tenpin bowling skills or enjoying a coastal drive with her kids.

"Every Sunday morning, I play tenpin bowls with a team, including people from APG. I've been playing for almost 20 years ... I'm pretty good," Kathy said proudly.

"As a family, we like to be adventurous. Some of our favourite things to do is go on coastal drives, visit attractions like the Old Noarlunga Suspension Bridge, and we love heading further south to places like Normanville.

"I also do my own gardening at home at the weekend, and can use the skills I learn at work."

An asset to the team

APG South supervisor and trainer Helena Scroop said Kathy's skills have gone from strength to strength.

"Kathy picks up skills quite quickly, which is great for the team," she said.

"Her work and personal skills have improved so much. She's a really good communicator with her fellow workers.

"She seems a lot happier and now speaks out if anything is bothering her instead of bottling it up inside, which is fantastic. She'll let us know what we can help her with and what she needs."

Kathy agreed. "I've come out of my shell working here, and I have a lot of goals for the future."