Raquel Henderson wins City of Mandurah's annual Nikki Wise Scholarship

CLOSE TO HOME: Raquel Henderson says she has seen first-hand the impact of troubled family lives. Photo: Supplied.

CLOSE TO HOME: Raquel Henderson says she has seen first-hand the impact of troubled family lives. Photo: Supplied.

Raquel Henderson had held many jobs throughout her working life.

The Halls Head woman has worked in sales, hospitality, construction and administration.

But it was her own life experiences - and an eye for a bargain - that prompted her to pursue what has become her passion.

"I'd experienced loss, witnessed in those close to me the perils of addiction and substance abuse, and saw first-hand the impact of troubled family lives," Ms Henderson said.

"I turned my own life around and decided I wanted a career in which I could share the lessons I'd learnt on this journey and help others in the community.

Ms Henderson has won an acclaimed scholarship awarded to those who dedicate themselves to helping others - the City of Mandurah's annual Nikki Wise Scholarship.

The scholarship provides a local resident with $2000 to further their studies in community service and the Mandurah mother of two will use it to complete a Diploma at South Metropolitan TAFE's Mandurah campus, having recently completed the certificate IV qualification.

She says the course was part of TAFE's Lower fees program so course fees were cheap.

"When the State Government announced its Lower fees, local skills initiative, I was looking for new opportunities and began to explore study options," Ms Henderson said.

Having completed a work placement with Anglicare as part of her studies, Ms Henderson is now undertaking a work placement with the City of Mandurah.

The scholarship honours the legacy of Nikki Wise, who was devoted to helping those in need and died in 2016. In 2012, Nikki founded the 'Reach Out Drop In Centre', a food service for homeless people in Mandurah's city centre.

By 2014, the food service was providing more than 200 meals per week. Nikki's dedication to helping the homeless also extended to the planning of many fundraising events to support the service and increase awareness of homelessness in Mandurah.

The Diploma of Community Services leads to a range of career paths, including the potential to become a team leader as a program coordinator, early intervention worker, or case manager.

Working in Community Services is diverse and includes identifying the support needed and assisting to resolve personal issues by assigning resources that meet clients' needs.