Safeguarding the future conference - Canberra, 23-24 May 2024

Tom Neale

We are excited to welcome Tom to the Get That Good Life! conference. Tom and his mother Helen will share Tom's employment journey from school leaver to business owner.

About Tom

Portrait of Tom Neale

Tom Neale, Owner of Ground Control by Major Tom

Tom is nearly 24, a hard worker who has had his microenterprise “Ground Control by Major Tom” for almost five years. He is a good friend to many and loves to help out where he can, whether raising funds and awareness for the homeless or being a good neighbour.

Tom has a vision for a good and typical life- he loves to travel, go to the pub, hang out with friends, and one day wants a modern house of his own. Tom has Autism, but this doesn’t define him.

Tom’s Presentation

Creating a Good Life through Meaningful Employment

The story of Ground Control by Major Tom

Presented by Tom Neale and Helen Neale

When Tom was preparing to leave school, and no one was offering any suitable post-school work options, his parents knew they had to come up with the answer. Skip forward 5 years, and Tom is happily and successfully running his own lawn maintenance business with approximately 50 regular clients.

Ground Control by Major Tom came into being because his family

  • chose to focus on Tom’s interests and skills, and
  • had a goal that Tom would have a valued role in the community.

Tom’s Circle of Support, which was established at the same time as his business, still meets regularly. The Circle’s roles are

  • to support Tom in his decision making
  • to provide new social and recreational opportunities
  • and to hold and protect his vision of a good life.

Helen, Tom’s mum, will describe the pathway from its beginnings, where she dreamed of a Microenterprise for Tom, to today, where the dream is a reality. In her presentation, Helen will

  • discuss their use of formal (paid) and informal supports
  • share strategies for sustainability, business growth, skill development and independence
  • provide tips on “thinking typical”.

Outside-the-box-thinkers will appreciate the ideas, tactics, and strategies that abound in Tom’s story.

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Contact Details

  • TBA

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