Graduate in the finals for Trainee of the Year!

Tell us a little about the Forest Lake Youth Service?
I began volunteering in a full time capacity as a youth worker at my church, the Salvation Army at Forest Lake (Lake Community Church).  There were a number of at-risk youth who would hang around the premises during the day and at night. Forest Lake was a suburb of over 25,000, yet there was no dedicated youth service and teenage crime was on the incline.  We knew we had to do something.

We successfully sought funding from the Department of Communities which meant we could be officially run as a youth service.I am still their Youth Worker and primarily focus on case management, but also do a lot of networking, working within the local school, court and legal support, crisis care and assist in work preparation and job-seeking.

Why did you decide to study Youth Work with SU Qld?
SU training was referred to me on a number of occasions by close friends and colleagues. The opportunity to learn in a Christian environment and explore Christian principles and foundations for our practise made me chose this training organisation over others.

How has your training equipped you for your role?
The study I did with SU Qld has been and still is paramount to my practise. The course was immediately relevant to situations I was facing in my work, which included working with refugees and migrants and establishing appropriate referral networks and processes. The training has also been so helpful in understanding current trends and the importance of knowing what risk factors are, how they emerge and how to intervene as they are commonly associated in all aspects of Social Work.

It’s quite an achievement to make it to the final three in your region!
It’s nice to be recognised for my achievements but it’s also great for the industry as a whole, my employers The Salvation Army and my training provider SU Qld – none of my achievements would have happened if it wasn’t for the collaboration of everyone.

So, where to from here?
This award in no ways changes my focus, career path or passion! At this stage, I will continue to work as a youth worker and I am due to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Queensland in 2014.

The Queensland Training Awards recognise and reward the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations within the vocational education and training sector who strive for excellence, best practice and innovation. We wish Toniele all the best in the finals!

If you would like to find out more about SU Qld’s nationally-recognised training programs please contact or call 1300 478 753.