Troi’s Story

“I never thought I would be working in digital design. Now I’m building a rewarding career that may not have been possible without the support of Talent RISE. They erased my fear of failing.”

– Troi Ilsley, Talent RISE graduate

Troi Ilsley, 20, has never lacked ambition – she’s a UX designer at a global digital agency, an Aboriginal youth activist and budding jewellery designer. Her only issue was opportunity.


Troi and Marisha 1


Motivated, but misdirected

Troi was born in Bendigo, a rural city in the centre of Victoria. Her family struggled to make ends meet and she was forced to grow up quickly.

“Home life was pretty hard,” she says. “Even though my parents tried to shelter us, we were still exposed to domestic violence, drug abuse, alcoholism and mental health issues.”

Despite this, Troi – a proud Wamba Wamba and Gunditjmara woman – completed high school and moved to Melbourne to study criminology at university.

While she hoped the course would fulfil her need to help others, Troi felt something was missing and started looking for other ways to connect with her community.

“I wanted to engage with my people so I started volunteering at the Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation Cooperative (MAYSAR),”she says. “We had tough times at home, but we did grow up culturally strong, which is something I’m grateful for”

It was while working with MAYSAR that Troi connected with Talent RISE.

“A friend of mine from MAYSAR saw my sketches – I’m a keen artist – and thought I would be great at graphic design,” she says. “I met with RISE and learned more about a scholarship I qualified for with Academy Xi.”

Academy Xi specialises in short, practical and skill-specific courses for people who want to upskill their abilities in design, innovation and digital transformation.

“I was originally recommended to RISE because I was good at design, but the course was more focussed on user experience, something I had no experience in,” says Troi. “But after meeting with RISE and speaking with Charbel Zeaiter (CEO of Academy Xi), I applied.”


Finding purpose

“As I read Troi’s application, it became clear to me that she had a heart and passion for her Aboriginal community and exceptional leadership skills,” says Marisha Charlesworth, Troi’s youth recruitment consultant.

“The scholarship was not for just any young person. The candidate had to be someone who would work hard and I was convinced very early on that Troi would succeed.”

Troi accepted the scholarship and her journey with UX design began.

Her project, presented at the Academy Xi showcase, built on an existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth leadership program and focussed on linking young Indigenous kids with strong leaders in their community.

Upon graduating her course, Isobar – sponsors of the scholarship program – offered Troi an interview. With support from Talent RISE, she was successful.

“Talent RISE and Marisha played an important role in my journey,” says Troi. “Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am. It helped me jumpstart my career and breakdown barriers.

“I don’t see a lot of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in this industry, but now I have the opportunity to pave the way. I am proud to tell my community I am working at a global company and prove more young ones can do it too.”


A brighter future

“Troi is an inspiring and strong young person,” says Marisha. “It’s been an honour to work with her.

“Watching her transition into a successful career in the tech industry has been a privilege. She has the ability to create change in the UX design space and promote the self-determination of her people.

“I can’t wait to see where this journey takes her.”