Tricia Velthuizen is the CXO and Co-Founder of Churchill Education, a Brisbane-based registered training organisation. Churchill provides Australians with a seamless Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process that converts career experience into nationally recognised qualifications.

Velthuizen gave up a career as a Crown Prosecutor (barrister) with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to start Churchill Education with her husband, Randall Smith who was forced to transition careers due to PTSD – leaving a 16-year police career with vast experience but no qualifications.

Having witnessed first-hand the difference RPL made to Smith’s self confidence in demonstrating the value of his transferrable skills, Velthuizen is committed to ensuring as many people as possible to know about the RPL pathway and get recognised for their career experience and dedication.

Velthuizen is particularly passionate about encouraging women to believe in themselves and get the recognition they deserve. Despite women representing close to half the Australian workforce, under 20 per cent of Churchill RPL graduates are women. It is something both Velthuizen and Smith are committed to changing.

“Growing up I never thought being a woman would hold be back from anything. In many ways I was right. But I have encountered many unexpected challenges of being a woman in a working world. Some of those came from the attitude of male colleagues, but many came from within. The times I held myself back, questioned my abilities, focused on my weaknesses instead of my strengths,” she said.

In her career, Velthuizen has been personally honoured with a range of awards, including a prestigious Churchill Fellowship and the AchieveForum Australian HR Champion (CEO) of the Year Award. Her skills as a storyteller have resulted in Velthuizen’s presence as a keynote speaker in conferences across Australia.

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