PROUD: Tourism officer Leanne Crawford and visitor information centre officer Tayla Dennis holds the Aboriginal flag.
PROUD: Tourism officer Leanne Crawford and visitor information centre officer Tayla Dennis holds the Aboriginal flag. Lucy Rutherford

A passion for the tourism industry drives finalist

TAYLA Dennis is excited to be combining her passion for tourism and pride in her Indigenous background in the upcoming Queensland Training Awards in Gatton at the end of July.

The 23-year-old has been successfully short-listed as a finalist in both the Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year award categories, where she will compete against two other finalists from the Darling Downs and South West regions.

"The awards are important because they help recognise the talents and efforts of people in the community,” Ms Dennis said.

"It's great that I can be a role model for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and let them know you can do anything if you just put your mind to it.”

Having won Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year and the Equity VET Student of the Year in last year's awards, Ms Dennis believes the experience is a fantastic way to network and get her name out there.

"Hearing the journeys of the other finalists makes you motivated to become better in yourself,” she said.

Completing her tourism traineeship with Golden West Apprenticeships last December, Tayla has used her job as a tour guide at the Big Rig as a stepping stone for breaking into the tourism industry.

"I didn't even know I liked tourism until I started my job here and now it's become my passion,” she said.

"Meeting different people everyday and hearing their travel stories really sparks my love for the industry.

"I'm not a very confident person normally so being a tour guide for big groups of people has been a massive confidence booster for me.”

Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman believes selection as a regional finalist for the awards recognises the candidate's outstanding contribution to the state's growth and economy.

"These high calibre finalists represent a wide range of industries and occupations, from mechanics, electricians, small bakeries and hairdressing salons, to migrant support organisations and big businesses,” Mrs Fentiman said.

"The Queensland Training Awards shine the spotlight on the excellence that exists in the state's training sector and supports our commitment to fostering well-trained and skilled workforces.”

A Roma local, Ms Dennis credits pursuing interests in areas she wasn't sure about as a factor in being chosen as a finalist in the upcoming awards.

"If you're not 100 per cent sure on it, just give it a go because you never know where it will lead you,” she said.

"You just have to believe in yourself and do things that scare you.”

Regional winners will go on to the Queensland Training Awards State Gala Dinner, to be held in Brisbane in September.

"I love knowing that I'm doing my family proud.”


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