Perseverance is what separates daydreamers from achievers. And Hervey Bay resident Zach Podd wakes up every morning reminding himself exactly that.

Zach is in his final year of school at the Hervey Bay Special School. While most students his age wonder what career path to take, Zach has already charted out a plan for himself. And more importantly, he is acting on it.

This 17-year-old realised at an early age that the hospitality industry was his calling. A passion for becoming a barista encouraged him to pursue his barista training through school, leading him to earn a Certificate I in Skills for Vocational Pathways.

Currently, he is undergoing work experience with The Wandering Teapot, the Hervey Bay Neighborhood Centre’s social enterprise. Beyond making coffee and tea, and general customer service, Zach is learning how to operate in a commercial kitchen, to help get him job-ready. Word is his decaf soy latte is a must-try and that he is a striker at ten-pin bowling.

Zach Podd puts his skills into action in The Wandering Teapot cafe.

While today Zach is flourishing with the support of family, friends and support worker, his life has not been an easy one. Diagnosed with epilepsy and Down syndrome, he has had to work extremely hard to be where is he right now. But his unstoppable zeal to be independent and become a valuable employee in the hospitality sector has kept him going.

His parents, dad Gavin and mum Chris, describe him as an outgoing, curious and goal-driven young man. His support worker Rachel says he is highly social and organised, with a distinct sense of humour. He loves his family and admires his brother, Luke, who is in the Australian Army.

His mum believes gaining work experience with The Wandering Teapot is the best opportunity Zach could have to prepare him for a fruitful career ahead.

We at The Wandering Teapot are delighted and proud to be part of Zach’s career journey.