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Ian Dubbeld, left, with RMIT Work Integrated Learning Teacher Trevor Bayley. Ian and Trevor forged the partnership between Concern Australia and RMIT.

Ian Dubbeld guides a student while changing a tyre on our training car at a Hand Brake Turn Mobile school session.

At the end of last year we said goodbye to Hand Brake Turn Manager Ian Dubbeld, who is moving on to a new season after three years developing and building the program across our north-west and south-east metropolitan Melbourne sites.

In his time with Concern Australia, Ian’s leadership had a major impact on Hand Brake Turn.

Following consultation with key stakeholders, including the young people with whom we work, the program was adapted to better meet the needs of participants. Under Ian’s leadership, Hand Brake Turn began operating as a Learn Local provider, reviewed delivery as a Registered Training Organisation and commenced a seven-week pre-vocational course in partnership with the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Justice and Community Safety, schools and community organisations. As a result, we saw enrolment numbers increase.

Ian also led the development of the fiXit social enterprise which generated $35,000 income in 2019, our newest innovation, Hand Brake Turn Mobile, and a partnership with RMIT that has seen 36 youth work students undertake placements to support Hand Brake Turn students throughout the duration of each seven-week course.

Hand Brake Turn fiXit social enterprise gives young people who have completed the seven-week course the opportunity to build on their new skills with practical work experience. They work alongside Hand Brake Turn staff fixing up donated cars that are then sold or gifted to members of the community who are in need, along with servicing cars for staff, community partners and members of the public.

Hand Brake Turn Mobile is an approach that takes the training program out of the workshop and into schools and community organisations, providing access to basic skill development for maintaining a car, along with a taste of what it means to work on vehicles. Some of these young people may then choose to join the Hand Brake Turn training program as an entry point into a career path.

Put all this together, along with his personal commitment to mentoring young people, and it’s clear that Ian has left a significant legacy.

Ian recounted the story of one young man as an example of the impact the Hand Brake Turn course can have.

“This young man stole something from Hand Brake Turn. I rang his case worker and said if he didn’t get it back in two hours, we would have to get the police involved.

“He came back 30 minutes later and apologised. I got him to write a letter of apology to Hand Brake Turn and explain why we should keep him in the course. He did that, got the letter signed by his mother, and finished the course.

“At his graduation he said ‘no one has ever given me a chance before when I’ve stuffed up. You guys gave me a second chance and I really appreciate it.’

“It wasn’t until the end of the course that he really revealed the impact we’d had on him. He then went on to work for his father.

“Some of the stories from the young people are amazing,” Ian said. “There’s lots of stories I could tell, but that stood out for me.”

Ian said it had been an honour to be a part of the Concern Australia story.

“I’ve always loved what Concern Australia stands for. Hand Brake Turn is very unique, and that’s another reason why it appealed to me initially. It helps young people to process where they’re at and get life skills. It’s working with young people that nobody else wants to work with too, on the cutting edge really.

“Together with Inside Out, Steps Outreach Service and chaplaincy at Malmsbury, it’s an organisation meeting a real need,” he said. “The staff at Concern Australia all have such a passion to make a difference for young people. I’m very proud to have been a part of Concern Australia, and to be a part of that legacy.”

Ian has now decided to pursue his interest in chaplaincy and walking with young people. He is currently teaching automotive classes at Healesville High School while also studying a Diploma of Chaplaincy at Eva Burrows College. Ian already does volunteer motorsport chaplaincy work through Sports Chaplaincy Australia, volunteering at Sandown, Phillip Island and Winton when they have events.

He feels there is a strong thread and connection between his work with Concern Australia, and his new focus in the school and at motorsport events. “My experience at Hand Brake Turn will help me walk with them all,” Ian said.

Concern Australia CEO Michelle Crawford said Ian’s contribution to Hand Brake Turn had been invaluable.

“Ian leaves Hand Brake Turn in an extremely healthy position with a solid foundation to continue to provide life-changing opportunities for vulnerable young people, and to expand the program to reach more students than ever before. It was great to see Hand Brake Turn’s celebration of 25 years and the 10,000th student milestone observed under his leadership.

“Ian was such a valuable part of the Concern Australia family. His personal commitment to struggling young people has been inspiring for us all, and we wish him every blessing as he continues to serve in this next season of his professional life.”