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Ossie finds his calling in hospitality

Hospitality runs in the blood of proud Torres Strait Islander Ossie Baker-Mackie, who is kicking goals and climbing the career ladder thanks to the North Queensland Toyota Cowboy's Dream, Believe, Achieve program.

Since graduating from the training and employment program in 2018 and earning a Certificate III in Hospitality, Ossie has been hard at work at the Mercure Hotel in Currajong having recently been promoted to duty manager and night auditor as part of the reservations team.

He's gone from strength to strength since starting in food and beverage four years ago, before moving up the ladder with goals to continue his progression.

"I was looking more towards the taverns and pubs, but then I thought I should go toward tourism because I have some experience behind me," Ossie said.

"I’m enjoying it, I’ve been here for four years and just recently got a car, so a lot of things have changed for me.

My prospects in life, my views on other people and being more open to other people’s opinions, and now my confidence has grown.

Ossie Baker-Mackie

Before moving to Townsville to start the Dream, Believe, Achieve program, Ossie was going job-to-job with stints in the hospitality and tourism industries, unable to find his true calling or a long-term position.

But as a proud Torres Strait Islander, Ossie said hospitality runs deep both in his culture and family and is no stranger to the industry.

During his study he completed a range of work experience positions including a placement at The Ville Resort Casino and working major events like Cowboys home games, before realising his future lies in tourism. 

The Dream, Believe, Achieve program run by the Cowboys offers ongoing employment based outcomes for students who complete mentoring, on the job training and work placement opportunities with industry partners to achieve their Certificate III in Hospitality.

For Ossie, it's an opportunity that changed his life and many of his friends' lives, forever.

"Because I moved through the departments, I set myself up five years down the track, to be front office manager, rooms division manager, just in the higher up areas," he said.

"If it wasn’t for DBA, if I didn’t do that course, I wouldn’t have this job, I wouldn’t have my new car.

"It sounds weird but before I started working, I was just fine sitting around doing nothing, relaxing, watching TV, but now I’ve got this job and as soon as I get a day off, I just want to go and do something.

"I always tell people to go for this course, and they’ve gone and done it and now they’re off working, they’ve all got new lives."

Ossie Baker-Mackie

A new intake for the Dream, Believe, Achieve program commenced September 20. For more information, visit

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.