Jobsbank news

The Remarkable Journey of Joseph Paley

Oct 20, 2023

NESA awards 2023

Last week, the Jobsbank team presented Joseph Paley with the 2023 National Employment Services Association (NESA) Award for Achiever of the Year 

At the end of his photo session, Joseph takes a moment to look at his award. 

“It’s surprisingly heavy!” he laughs. 

Twelve months ago, he was unemployed and sleeping rough. 

He had just been released from prison and estranged from his support network. 

After one freezing night huddled up next to a wall at a train station, Joseph decided things had to change and walked to the nearest office of employment services provider Workskil Australia. The staff found him waiting the following day. 

“I remembered the support WorkSkil Australia had given me in prison, and I decided then and there to turn my life around,” he recalls. 

Within 24 hours, Workskil Australia had connected Joseph to temporary accommodation, equipped him with a new set of clothes and a resume, and organised an interview with a supportive employer to get him off the street as soon as possible. 

His previous trade qualification as a fitter demonstrated his potential, but it was critical to address the multiple barriers he was facing to secure ongoing employment. The team worked on multiple levels to create the support system he would need. 

From a casual job on a building site, Joseph continued his training and development to several tickets and licenses, eventually earning a permanent role as a commercial building roofer. 

Joseph’s outstanding achievement against the odds is now celebrated across Australia’s employment services sector. He has been awarded the 2023 National Employment Services Association (NESA) Achiever of the Year sponsored by Jobsbank; the award recognises a former job seeker who has received employment assistance and has overcome extraordinary challenges to secure a job. 

Jobsbank CEO Dr Karina Davis and Achiever of the Year Joseph Paley
Jobsbank CEO Dr Karina Davis and Achiever of the Year Joseph Paley take a moment to admire his Award. 

“Today, my life is dramatically different,” Joseph says. “I have a car, I’ve moved from shared housing into a stable home, and I love coming home knowing I’ve done a good day’s work. I’m in the best financial, physical and mental position of my life. ” 

“The record number of award nominations this year is a testament to the strong partnership between Australia’s employment services providers, the dedication and commitment of their frontline staff, and those employers committed to an inclusive and diverse workforce,” says NESA Chief Executive Kathryn Mandla. 

In the world of employment, currently supporting more than 500,000 job seekers in the sector, the story of Joseph Paley stands out now as an inspiring tale of resilience and triumph and an example of what meaningful connection and true collaboration can deliver. 

About NESA 

The National Employment Services Association (NESA) is the peak body for the Australian employment services sector. Our member organisations support more than 500,000 Australians facing barriers to work to find sustainable, ongoing employment through tailored labour assistance programs, vocational education and training, and wrap-around social and health services. Through partnerships with respected national and international research institutes, NESA works with government, not-for-profit organisations and the private sector to support design and delivery of effective labour market assistance and social policy. We advocate for an inclusive Australian workforce that offers employment opportunities for all Australians who can and want to work. 

About Jobsbank 

Jobsbank is an independent for purpose organisation based in Naarm (Melbourne), helping employers reach their diversity, inclusion, and social procurement targets. Jobsbank aims to achieve results that are sustainable in the long term. In every project the team identifies the social issues as well as the business opportunities and works on both levels to deliver positive social impact and commercial results.

More information:


Add impact to your inbox

Join our community to stay up to date on social procurement and inclusive workplace best practice, human stories that make our work worthwhile, our incredible partners who are making it happen and everything in between.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Ready to make an impact?

Enquire about partnering with us today.

Fill in your details and our Engagement Team will contact you to start the journey.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Navigating social procurement, diversity & inclusion.

Quick Links






en English

Subscribe to our newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Jobsbank acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to their culture, their connections to Country and community, and to Elders past, present and emerging.