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We sat down this week to speak with RMIT Work Integrated Learning Teacher Trevor Bailey, who has  been working closely with the Hand Brake Turn (HBT) team since we forged a partnership with the University nearly four years ago.

“Education is the only pathway out of poverty.”

Trevor is, unsurprisingly, very particular about how to fully encapsulate the power of the partnership.

It’s why RMIT and Concern Australia formed the partnership and it’s still going strong today. Trevor highlighted the value of what’s been “a solid working relationship centred around upskilling youth workers while they assist HBT students to become active participants in community and economic life and shared, “The students’ feedback is always insightful, and definitely assisting them in their path to becoming a fully qualified Youth Worker.”

Since 2018, Concern Australia and the RMIT Vocational Education Youth Work program have been collaborating to strengthen outcomes for young people who enrol in HBT, while Youth Worker students get real working experience. It’s a great avenue to young people who are studying to apply their learning with the day to day experience of working with vulnerable young people and children.

“The partnership taps into research from the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Jesuits Social Services (JSS) that identified persistent communal disadvantage for young people in Melbourne, reflected in high levels of youth unemployment, which is one of the reasons we started the partnership with HBT”, says Trevor.

As part of the partnership, RMIT Youth Workers undertake placements at our workshops in Braybrook and Dandenong.

MARLEY is one such young woman who participated as an RMIT student, and has been such a great contributor to the team. She’s come on board recently to further her experience and you can tell she really loves working with all the young people.

What’s interesting is that the most important part of the course experience wasn’t the completion of the assignments or memorizing the theory.

“The most important part of the course was the amazing experience of working one on one with the people at Hand Brake Turn, and building connections with the students at my time here.

Hand Brake Turn is an incredible program, because unlike many others, it gives the students direct opportunities with employment, apprenticeships and education, which we know is the key to ending the cycle of poverty and hardship. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working at Concern so far and I’m looking forward to meeting more young people that I can create meaningful relationships with.”

It’s been great having Marley so invested in the future of young people in the HBT program, for a range of reasons.

“Some of the young people I’ve met share similar life experiences to me, so it’s become an incredible full circle moment. I’ve had a really broad range of life experience that led me to finding reward in doing youth work. It’s my passion, and I know I can make a difference in a young person’s life.

My peers at RMIT feel the same. It’s a great opportunity for young people to support young people, whatever their postcode or background, and I’m just touched that the young people have let us enter their world for a bit, to support them where we can. It’s amazing.

Jonathan Sugumar, HBT Coordinator and recent Pioneer Award winner says it’s been a pleasure having Marley join the team in Dandenong, and knows the young students really value her input, “she’s so kind, and patient, and presents all the attributes we need from the young people at RMIT. Marley will make a difference in a few young people’s lives, you can see it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed in touch with her, she’s fun, caring and wants to support them as much as she can. She’s a real angel she is.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Hand Brake Turn Program, or even consider volunteering on the team, you can reach out to or on 03 9470 2972 to see what opportunities are coming up. You may even want to help the team out in the lead up to Christmas…… the more the merrier!

Of course, if you can, consider donating today, and making a difference in a young person’s life, who’s doing it hard, and could do with our help.