Toniele Williams is not the kind of person to sit back and watch when she sees a person in need.
In 2009, she left her job as a legal secretary to volunteer full-time with the Salvation Army.
Recognising that young people in her community did not have access to a youth space or other facilities, Toniele helped to obtain government funding to establish the Salvation Army Lake Youth Service.
From there, it was an obvious choice for Toniele to undertake an Australian Apprenticeship in the field, where she was able to complete a Certificate IV in Youth Work whilst working at the Salvation Army as a Youth Worker.
As an Australian Apprentice, she has had the chance to really make a difference in her community through working with children and young people at risk.
"My on-the-job training has given me both the theoretical knowledge and the practical tools I need to help young people in need," Toniele said.
Toniele's efforts have been well recognised. She was the winner of the 2011 Queensland Trainee of the Year Award, and a finalist in the Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year Award the same year at the Australian Training Awards.
"My Australian Apprenticeship was an incredibly rewarding experience," she said.
"I was able to get the training and support I needed to follow my heart and be involved in social work.”
"Now, there is not anywhere else I would rather be."
Toniele completed her study in a Bachelor of Social Work with a Minor in Mental Health at The University of Queensland, and later completed a Graduate Certificate in Domestic and Family Violence. Toniele works as Team Leader in Foster and Kinship Care and continues to make a difference within her community.
Toniele continues to be passionate about Mental Health, young people and families; and, the impact of trauma and disrupted attachments on young people’s behaviour and development. Toniele hopes to continue further study in these fields.