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Starting with a clean sheet

Date: 20/06/2013
On 20 June 2013, Cabrini celebrates World Refugee Day by turning a spotlight on the Cabrini Linen Service, which has a culturally diverse workforce including refugees and recently arrived migrants.

World Refugee Day resonates strongly with Cabrini which is owned by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the religious order founded by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini who was canonised Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants in 1946.

Kevin’s story

In 2001, Kevin Duong, who had attended school just until year 10, began his career as a casual worker sorting linen at the Cabrini Linen Service. He had no references or certificates. After just six months, his hard work and reliability noted, he was promoted to leading hand and later to washroom supervisor. His efforts were recognised by a Cabrini staff excellence award in 2002.

With support from Cabrini, Kevin began his business studies with a Diploma of Frontline Management and later a Bachelor of Business. In 2009, he trained to become a quality auditor and now has a significant part in developing and maintaining service’s quality manual, in accordance with ISO 9001 standards and industry standards.

He was later promoted to Production Manager, overseeing the daily operations of Cabrini Linen Service, which has a turnover of approximately 130 tonnes of linen per week, and working closely with Manager Marj Clarence to manage its budget and performance. Now Kevin is Strategy and Business Development Manager for the Cabrini Linen Service and he is closely involved in a project to establish the service at a larger, purpose-built facility in Dandenong, which is currently underway and due to open in a couple of months.

For eight consecutive years, the Cabrini Linen Service has won the Australian Achiever Award (in the category of ‘Cleaning and Maintenance Services and Supplies’) for excellence in customer satisfaction. It again received this award in 2012 achieving a 95 per cent score.

Industry recognition

Kevin has received industry recognition for his achievements. In early 2011, he won the Victorian Filterfab Award and represented the Victorian laundry industry in an overseas study award in September 2011. In order to receive selection for the first stage of the competition, Kevin submitted a discussion paper covering a his role is in the laundry industry, the problems facing the industry and what he hoped to be achieve by going on the world tour. Kevin was among four chosen for interview by the Victorian selection committee for the Filterfab Pty Ltd overseas study award presented by the Textile Rental and Laundry Association (Aust) Ltd and the Hospital Laundry Managers Association. He underwent an interview with the national judging panel but another candidate was selected.

About Cabrini Linen Service

Cabrini Linen Service is a leading commercial laundry facility, accredited with the International Standards Organization and employs more than 100 staff representing 30 different cultural groups. We provide opportunities, ongoing employment and a supportive working environment for people from disenfranchised and migrant communities who might otherwise struggle to find suitable employment. In 2011-12, there was increased employment for disenfranchised staff via organisations such as Project Respect and the Lighthouse Foundation.

Due to its continual success, the service is expanding and relocating to the City of Greater Dandenong with a new state-of-the-art facility scheduled to open in 2013. The new facility will be a four-star green rated laundry able to process 350 tonnes of linen per week. The location will help support Cabrini’s goal to provide employment opportunities for recently arrived migrants, long term unemployed, homeless and at-risk youth, many of whom reside in this part of Melbourne.  Please visit