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Award beckons for Cowboys employment program

For Dream, Believe, Achieve alumnus Hayley Kilminster, it’s no surprise the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ training and employment program has been nominated for a prestigious state award.

The program, which helped her secure work despite the challenges of a global pandemic, has been named as a finalist in the Community Training Initiative of the Year category at the North Queensland regional finals of the Queensland Training Awards.

Delivering job-ready training leading to meaningful employment opportunities, Dream, Believe, Achieve helped Hayley achieve a Certificate III in Hospitality and a job with industry partner, Cowboys Leagues Club, a week before COVID lockdowns hit in 2020.

But despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, she was welcomed with open arms following the lockdown and started her new job with ongoing support from DBA mentors.

“It was a shock because I just got told I got the job, and I was so happy, but when COVID happened, I thought, do I still have a job?” Hayley said.

“I had (program mentor) Albey behind me, he was very supportive and answered any questions or worries I had, he was literally a phone call away.”

The ongoing support was key for the 21-year-old who has grown in confidence since starting the program which includes one-on-one mentoring, in-class training and work experience opportunities.

Hayley said the program laid a life-changing foundation for her to learn new skills while working and continue further studies, giving her a sense of independence.

“Being new to Townsville I didn’t have any friends, so I got to meet new people and create a family with the DBA class I was in,” she said.

“There were nerves, I was worried what everybody would think of me and if I was going to be judged… But I felt that I could stand up in front of the class and speak and not be judged, so that environment was so positive and so supportive.

“When we did our work experience here I came in really fresh, bold and confident, and I felt great, I felt powerful.”

Hayley said despite being new to the workforce having just finished school, DBA prepared her for the transition and was a key part of her success.

She now works mainly as a gaming attendant but is trained across all areas of the Leagues Club including bar, restaurant and café, with hopes to advance into other areas.

Gaining employment has also provided financial stability and opened new doors, with Hayley now able to pay for driving lessons to get her license.

Hayley’s success story is just one of the highlights of Dream, Believe, Achieve’s nomination for the Queensland Training Awards, to be held on Friday night.

Winners will be announced from 6pm via live stream at

Dream, Believe, Achieve has previously won the Community Training Initiative of the Year category at the 2017 Queensland Training Awards.

Established in 2015, the Dream, Believe, Achieve is supported and funded by the Queensland Government through the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative.

Program graduates are work ready with a responsible service of alcohol (RSA) certificate, responsible gambling services (RSG) certificate and food safety certificate among their new credentials.

For more information or to register for a course, visit