Set up in 2017 at the RMIT Training student café in the heart of the Melbourne CBD and originally designed to support disadvantaged youth, the partnership is now also creating work experience opportunities for international students.
The RMIT Training barista internship was created to give international students the opportunity to develop their confidence and help them build the necessary skills to find casual employment while they study.
The internship is targeted towards international students who may find themselves disadvantaged in finding work due to language difficulties or limited work experience.
As well as building hospitality service skills, students are provided with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Australian culture, interact with the community and gain experience in searching, applying for and securing a job.
RMIT Training student and internship graduate Hunjung Lee said he found the work experience invaluable and has returned to train new interns and “give back to the program”.
“Through the program, I can help others grow and contribute to society. I have never taught someone in English which is not my first language,” he said.
“I now know that I want to run my own business…so this kind of experience will help me get there.”
The unique internship resulted in RMIT Training being nominated in the ‘real life learning’ category at the 2018 PIEoneer Awards.
The PIEoneer awards celebrate innovation and achievement in international education, recognising individuals and organisations who are pushing professional standards, evolving engagement or redefining the international student experience.
Regional Manager Zeyad Ahmed said it was an honour to be recognised alongside so many other organisations that were working to make a difference.
He said RMIT Training worked tirelessly to help international students achieve their study goals and was committed to creating positive student experiences.
“The experiences provided at RMIT are designed to prepare students for life and work,” he said.
The internship consists of 10 hours of work over a four-week period, as well as access to a mentor and a letter of recommendation to help secure future employment.
Sales from the partnership go to Launch Housing, one of Victoria’s largest providers of housing support for homelessness.
Story: Jacqueline Ellis