Local businesswoman set to represent Australia after winning top award in employment services

She’s humble, she’s quiet and she’s busy, but one local businesswoman has been acknowledged with Australia’s most honorable employment services award.

Triscilla Holborrow, CEO of REFAP, returned to Karratha to a welcoming party of friends and family after winning the 2016 NESA Employment Discovery Grant at a gala dinner in Melbourne.

The award recognises champions working in employment services.

Sebastian Rosenberg was the chair of the judging panel and said Triscilla’s whole life journey led to this honour.

“Triscilla’s own history and background is amazing. Finding employment for Aboriginal communities and others in a remote location is such a challenge and she has been able to do that,” Mr Rosenberg said.

“We’re not just here to find someone who is really good at their job, and Triscilla obviously is, but as a discovery grant we actually find potential leaders in employment services.”

Ms Holborrow will now have the honour of accompanying Sally Sinclair, CEO of the National Employment Services Association, to the invitation-only 2017 OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Development in Prague. Ms Holborrow will be working to make a presentation and contribute to the event.

“Triscilla will be well placed to step into a national leadership role,” Mr Rosenberg said. “This is the key thing that was noticed by the panel – she clearly has the potential to make that step.

“She is already a leader in her field and is really at the cutting edge for trying to find employment for people in a difficult regional area with its own challenges.“

Although the discovery grant is a prestigious honour for Ms Holborrow, it’s a huge opportunity for the Karratha, Roebourne and Onslow communities too due to the skills she will be bringing back.

“You’re going to have an expert in addressing indigenous unemployment and that is a very rare and precious commodity,” Mr Rosenberg said.

Ms Holborrow, a Yarraburra woman, said she is excited to work with other indigenous leaders around the world.

“It’s an opportunity for all of us to share our stories, our achievements and our barriers with leaders across the globe,” she said.

“This hasn’t been an easy street for me, but my passion and vision paid off and today we are nationally and internationally recognized.”

Ms Holborrow was one of four finalists for the award of 20,000 entries and unanimously selected as the winner.

“I told my personal story from overcoming barriers as an employee to self-starting my own enterprise,” she said.

“For me personally, for all the barriers, for all the hardship and the long hard road to get here, it was worth it and to be recognised is massive for me personally and nothing will ever stop me from trying to achieve more for our community.

“I was actually shocked to win, but also very proud to win it.

“I’m one very proud, happy Aboriginal Australian woman.”