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RMIT Training Partner, Dan Poole awarded Victorian Young Achiever of the Year

Jenny Mikakos MP, Minister for Families & Children, Minister for Youth Affairs presented Dan Poole as the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year.

Dan Poole, Chief Entrepreneurship Officer of Society Melbourne, who runs not-for-profit social enterprises centred around youth homelessness, was recently recognised for his ongoing contribution to the community as 2018 Victorian Young Achiever of the Year. 

RMIT Training partners with Mr Poole on the Coffee Cart Changing Lives initiative, which like his other businesses—Crêpes for Change and seek to provide training and support for homeless youth in our community. 

Surprised by the formal recognition, Mr Poole shared what this award means to the work he does.

"It is an absolute honour to be recognised in such a significant way. Personally, I don’t seek the limelight and try to use opportunities like this to highlight the incredible work of my team, whom without, our organisation would not exist," he said. 

"I spend a huge amount of my time working on our organisation, Society Melbourne, and our ever-growing collection of social enterprises, however many others across our organisation put in similar time and effort. For this reason, I accept awards such as the Victorian Young Achiever of the Year on behalf of all of us."

The award entails a generous travel scholarship provided by Pitcher Partners, and importantly, the gift of one of the 26 saplings from the Separation Tree. This is an ancient tree pre-dating European colonisation under which Governor La Trobe proclaimed Victoria’s separation from New South Wales, and which tragically died in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens a few years ago.

Society Melbourne is a not-for-profit organisation running hospitality social enterprises to alleviate youth homelessness in Australia. Each business raises funds and provides training and employment opportunities to disadvantaged young people. 

The Coffee Cart Changing Lives is located at RMIT Training on Level 4 of Building 108 and services employees and students at RMIT. The cart provides a central location to train vulnerable youths to become baristas, and for RMIT’s international students to gain insight into Melbourne’s coffee culture and broader community issues like homelessness.

Each year, barista internships are offered to international students to help them develop the skills and confidence they need to find casual employment while they study. Launched in November 2017, the work integrated learning program targets students who, because of their limited English skills and work experience find themselves disadvantaged when searching for work. Students who apply for the internship, experience a real-life simulation of the process to search, apply and secure a job.

Mr Poole commented on the value of partnering with RMIT Training and his love for what he does. 

"We have such a beautiful, symbiotic relationship with RMIT Training, made possible through the tireless work and dedication of Matt Cox and Antonia Everson from the Student Experience team," he said. 

"One of the most special parts of the program has been the incredible way RMIT’s students interact with our own vulnerable trainees, who have experienced or who are at risk of homelessness. Watching them befriend, help and train each other at the cart has obvious benefits for both parties. 

"I’ve always been in love with the power of business and its potential to help people. Discovering social enterprise was life-changing for me and founding Society Melbourne has made me realise that helping others is my one true calling and ambition in life."


Dan Poole, Chief Entrepreneurship Officer of Society Melbourne