Like any Mum taking her teenager for his first drive, Pauline Kirby kept a white-knuckled grip on the passenger seat but along with her inevitable nerves, she felt overwhelming pride for her 19-year-old son Callum.

After spending more than two years diligently studying the manual and two prior failed attempts, Callum, who has autism, passed his driving test on the third go.

When he stood up and said ‘Mum I’ve done it he was just beaming. Pauline said.

He said, ‘I’ve reached my goal and it was all worth it’, he was just so proud of himself.

Callum is very persistent, he is definitely not a quitter, he gives everything a go and he doesn’t want to disappoint anyone.

For Callum Kirby-Hays, who was a participant of the pilot Kickstart for Life program in high school, passing his Ls test was his second major life achievement.The first was starting a three year apprenticeship with supermarket IGA after finishing Year 12 at Figtree High last year.

Pauline credits the Kickstart for Life Program for supporting him to achieve both goals.

I was driving when I heard the radio ad about the Kickstart for Life pilot program and I pulled over on the side of the road and took down the details “ Callum was 15 at the time and very keen to get a job, Pauline said.

Kickstart for Life was the perfect pathway for employment for Callum. The skills and training the program gave him meant that when he started work experience through high school he thrived in the different work environments.

Employers were impressed by how much he already knew, especially about WH&S rules and work safety.

Kickstart for Life was the best experience for him. It is unbelievable what Callum has achieved in just a few short years and he proves what can happen with the right support from the right people.

Callum was one of the first Kickstart for Life participants to get paid employment with Greenacres while he was still at school. He worked with Greenacres for three years including sometimes in the school holidays and staff were always impressed by his strong work ethic and positive attitude.

So what do you do when you have achieved your major life goals and you are only 19? Make some more of course! Callum said he has started saving for a trip to Brazil to see rainforest birds in the Amazon and after that, an African safari.

Everyone at Greenacres who worked with Callum knows that he will do it too!