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PIEoneer award for ‘Real Life Learning’ nomination

Hunjung Lee training a current intern on barista skills at the coffee cart. 

RMIT Training has been nominated in the ‘real life learning’ category at the 2018 PIEoneer Awards for its unique barista internship.

The PIEoneer awards were held in London on Friday 7 September to celebrate innovation and achievement in international education. The Awards recognise individuals and organisations who are pushing professional standards, evolving engagement or redefining the international student experience. 

In 2017, RMIT Training formed a partnership with non-profit social enterprise, Coffee Cart Changing Lives, which supports youth homelessness in Melbourne by training vulnerable youths to become baristas. This involved the setup of a permanent coffee cart in RMIT Training’s student café which services employees and pathways students studying at RMIT. 

Following the establishment of the Cart, RMIT Training recognised the lack of casual employment opportunities for unskilled international students and the need for access to work integrated learning on campus. With this in mind, the RMIT Training barista internship was created and international students were given the opportunity to work alongside other disadvantaged youths to develop the skills and confidence they need to find casual employment while they study. 

Zeyad Ahmed, Regional Manager, attended the awards on behalf of RMIT Training.

“My colleagues work tirelessly to help our students achieve their study goals and experience the best that studying in Australia and in Melbourne has to offer,” he said.

“This nomination demonstrates how the experiences provided at RMIT prepare students for life and work.

“It has been an honour to be recognised for the contribution we make, alongside the many other organisations working to make a difference.” 

The internship launched in November 2017 is targeted at students who, because of their limited English skills and work experience, find themselves disadvantaged in the work search process. As well as hospitality service skills, students who apply for the internship are offered a real-life simulation experience of the steps required to search, apply and secure a job. 

Students are provided with an opportunity to practise their English skills and immerse themselves in the Australian culture while supporting and interacting with the broader community. 

The internship consists of at least ten hours practice at the café over four weeks, as well as coaching and mentoring, and a letter of recommendation to help secure future employment.

Hunjung Lee, a previous trainee and RMIT Training student has returned to the Cart as a trainer and is now ‘giving back’ to the program by sharing his barista skills with new interns. 

Mr Lee said the program taught him that anyone can affect the lives of others. 

“Through the program, I can help others grow and contribute to society,” Mr Lee said.

Sales from the Cart go to Launch Housing, one of Victoria’s largest providers of housing support for homelessness. 

For more details about the PIEoneer awards and to view the winners for 2018, click here.
RMIT Training delivers pathway programs that enable students to articulate into Bachelor programs at university; these include Foundation Studies and English language programs.

The PIEoneer Awards 2018