Sonny Bin Garape commenced employment at Bama Services in 2011 as a landscape maintenance crewmember.

He worked hard and was well regarded by the staff, in particular, the management team. In 2012, Sonny appeared in Court for offences committed prior to his employment. He was embarrassed about the charges so he decided not to tell his employer.

Due to the serious nature of the offending and his prior criminal history, he was sentenced to immediate shortterm incarceration. When he notified the management team at Bama Services that he was in jail, he was advised that they would keep his position available for him.

Motivated by a desire to reform and driven by the support he received from Bama Services, Sonny decided to use the time in custody to commence an Apprenticeship in Parks and Gardens.

At the same time, Bama Services reflected on the temporary loss of Sonny and the need to provide broader support for staff. This created the seed for the development of the SWP.

In June 2012, Sonny was released from jail and returned to work at Bama Services. Since his return, he has not committed any further offences and now uses his past experiences to mentor others to avoid making similar mistakes. In recognition of his potential as a leader and his strong work ethic, he was promoted to Supervisor in late 2012.

He has since been promoted to the role of Landscape Maintenance Manager. He now oversees 15 staff comprising four separate crews. Over the course of Sonny’s employment he has motivated and mentored many young men facing similar junctures. He is a great example of the human capacity to change. Had he not made the decision in jail to commit to his career and his reformation, he may have continued down a negative path.

Instead, he has done the hard work required to change his own life and inspired many others. This year Bama Services will nominate Sonny for the Queensland Training Awards. He is a deserving candidate given his capacity to turn his life around using the opportunities presented to him.