Sodexo team in front of REFAP

Creating sustainable employment through local engagement

Published on : 6/9/20
  • Having experienced first-hand the challenges in the workplace and where organisations fail when trying to set up successful strategies for Indigenous people, Triscilla Holborow founded REFAP with the mission to help more Aboriginal people gain skilled, long-term employment in the Pilbara.

    The company’s business ethos is expressed through its name, with REFAP standing for Real Employment for Aboriginal People.

    Established in 2010, REFAP’s business has evolved to now provide an array of commercial and residential services including employment services, transport and logistics, hospitality, and laundry services. The company also supports organisations engaging in Aboriginal recruitment programs and those establishing business ventures with Aboriginal organisations.

    Triscilla HolborowSodexo holds a longstanding relationship with REFAP, signing the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the company in 2013. Following this, in 2015, they signed their first official commercial contract with Sodexo on the Woodside town services contract to deliver mail services. This commenced an eight-year journey and in early-2019, Sodexo engaged with REFAP in their first laundry services agreement. The agreement was a significant milestone which catalysed economic development and prosperity within the Karratha, Roebourne, Dampier and surrounding regions of the Pilbara.

    “From the knowledge and expertise shared by Sodexo’s Procurement and Supply Chain team, our business has reached a new level of maturity in terms of operational readiness and services delivery capability.”
    - Triscilla Holborow, CEO REFAP


    REFAP employeeREFAP has provided commercial laundry services to Sodexo for its Woodside town services contract since the opening of its commercial laundry facility in August 2018. The laundry services agreement was made official through the second official commercial contract between Sodexo and REFAP.

    This agreement enabled REFAP to become the first commercial laundry services provider in the Karratha region, creating opportunities for both local jobseekers and businesses through employment and the availability of new services, respectively. As the company remains the only commercial laundry available in the region, it is anticipated other local businesses from various industries will outsource services to REFAP.

    Following this initial agreement, Sodexo has remained heavily engaged and involved in REFAP’s ongoing business activities, providing business incubation support and operational guidance on storage requirements, including the development of solutions to climatic challenges. Sodexo has also provided expertise in the remits of HSEQ (Health Safety Environment Quality), administration and facility fit-out.

    With Sodexo’s support, the ongoing development of this competitive mainstream business in the Karratha region will ensure the business remains sustainable.


    The Sodexo–REFAP partnership has seen strong relationships established between the two companies and local Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara.

    By supporting the development of REFAP, Sodexo has enabled sustainable employment opportunities for local people, with a pathway for local Aboriginal people to work close to homeland community and on country. Seeing a flow on effect through community investment, REFAP’s expansion has resulted in the growth of a number of local Indigenous supplier contractors and skill-based Indigenous workers.

    Through an ongoing relationship, Sodexo and REFAP have prioritised integrated and collaborative solutions to build Pilbara Aboriginal Business (PAB) capacity and capability.


    Sodexo, global leader in quality of life services, approached the opportunity to work with REFAP as a partnership, to ensure a positive community impact. Sodexo’s support of REFAP is a key action of its Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan where the company has committed to investing in Indigenous-owned businesses.

    The Sodexo–REFAP agreement is an incredible demonstration of Sodexo’s commitment, patience and flexibility to working with Traditional Owners and Pilbara Aboriginal Businesses (PABs).

    “Working in partnership with REFAP is another opportunity for us to enable growth for capable Indigenous businesses, enhance their services capability and provide meaningful employment opportunities for local Indigenous people.”
    - Sean Armistead, General Manager, Indigenous & Community Engagement

    Contact us > Open sharing and other actions