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Cairns consultant named one of Australia's best

People Stories 28 May 2021

Cairns-based Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Grace Mathews, has been named an Outstanding Consultant in the ARPA National Excellence in Workplace Rehabilitation Awards for 2021. 

Grace won the category for ‘Same Employer Services’ at the prestigious industry Awards in Canberra held last night on Thursday 27 May.

Having previously won the title at the Queensland Awards, Grace beat finalists from all the other states and territories to win the national prize.

The Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) is the industry body that represents all providers of occupational and workplace rehabilitation. The annual awards are designed to celebrate and showcase the Australian workplace health, return to work and rehabilitation industry’s many achievements and acknowledge its importance in the broader community. 

In winning the Award, Grace paid tribute to her team and the colleagues who had supported her:

Grace Mathews (L) pictured with Cairns team leader Melena Musumeci

“This is a win for the whole Cairns team. All of my colleagues have been so supportive of me and it just would not have happened without their support. I am also incredibly grateful for the ongoing training and guidance. The Cairns team is really special and everyone looks after each other. 2020 was a difficult year and we did need to think creatively and flexibly about how to achieve return to work outcomes, especially given the uncertain, frequently changing and often challenging environment. To receive this award itself is very humbling.”

Grace came to KINNECT and began her career in Workplace Rehabilitation just over three years ago after working in private practice.

“What was surprising to me is how much the industry enabled me to develop a new clinical skillset – including file management, stakeholder and professional relationship managementI enjoy the variety of services that we provide at KINNECT, from pre-employment assessments to project management. I love that I am always learning in my job role, which keeps things engaging.”  

“One of the surprising things about working in Occupational Rehab is just how much I travel during a normal day at work, compared to when I worked in private practice. I have been to some amazing and interesting places; like banana farms, the Cairns Aquarium, beachside resorts, sugar mills and a chicken processing facility! KINNECTers say there are no two days that are ever the say, and they are absolutely right.” 

Originally from Adelaide, Grace moved to Cairns just over five years ago.

“I love living in Cairns, it is a very interesting place with a stunning environment. One of the things you learn about Cairns is just how laid-back people are, and often find locals running on ‘Cairns-time’, so being flexible and being able to adapt quickly is a must in this role. I really enjoy exploring Cairns’ walking trails, beaches and waterfalls.”

Read the full list of winners on the ARPA website.