Safety support officer recognised as best in the region
A SAFETY support officer at Rockhampton Regional Council has been announced the winner of a prestigious regional award.
Shania Evans was the regional winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category at this year's Queensland Training Awards.
Through 14 categories, the awards recognised individuals and organisations that strive for and have achieved success, best practice and innovation in vocational education and training.
Shania said having her work recognised was a great feeling but being able to represent young Indigenous people really meant a lot.
As a young Indigenous working mother, she said she prided herself on being a role model for other women and mothers within her community.
"It's very overwhelming, but I am very proud and honoured to have been recognised for my achievements - I was very surprised when I was announced as the regional winner," she said.
"It's a real honour. For me, it's not just a win for myself, it's also a great acknowledgement for my workplace, the community and my family."
She said family played a large role in starting a career in workplace health and safety.
"Family has played an important role in who I am today," she said.
"Being part of a family who is known by many people in our community, provided me with opportunities others would not have experienced.
"My grandfather was the CEO of an Indigenous organisation that helped Indigenous people in need. Seeing the work that my grandfather did inspired me to obtain a position that would ensure people's needs are met."
In 2016, Shania's partner was involved in a serious workplace incident, resulting in a significant injury.
This experience prompted her to apply for a role as a safety trainee with council, which led to a full-time position as a safety support officer.
During this time, she completed her Certificate IV in work health and safety.
"When working in WHS we work to ensure that people feel safe in their workplace physically, mentally and socially," she said.
"Being able to be part of the team who create a safe environment for all people is something I am proud of."
Committed to furthering her career, she said she was continuing her studies toward a Diploma of Work Health and Safety through CQUniversity.
"I hope that Indigenous people see this and realise as long as they are willing to put the work in, they can achieve anything," she said.
Rockhampton Regional Council CEO Evan Pardon said council was committed to providing opportunities to those starting out in the workforce.
"We are devoted to carrying out our trainee and apprenticeship program each year and Shania is a great example of how you can not only become qualified, but also find permanent employment with council," Mr Pardon said.
"This award is a fantastic achievement for Shania, and we are really proud of her - she is a real credit to council.
"Safety is at the core of everything we do here at council, so Shania plays an incredibly important role in ensuring our employees and the wider community is kept safe."
As the regional winner, Shania will now progress onto the 2020 State Finals, which will be announced online on September 18.
Central Queensland regional winners:
• Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year - Riley Stewart
• Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year - Esther Olney
• Vocational Student of the Year - Tania Paulson
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year - Shania Evans
• School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year - Sophie James
• Equity VET Student of the Year - Helena Kidd
• VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year - Hardy Manser
• Community Training Initiative of the Year - Multicultural Australia
• Large Employer of the Year - Mastermyne
• Medium Employer of the Year - NFR Holdings Pty Ltd
• Small Employer of the Year - Jodi's Salon