TAFE NSW meets skills demand in commercial interior design boom

TAFE NSW graduate Hanna Margetson is helping to revitalize post-COVID-19 Sydney in her new job as a Graduate Interior Designer at Axiom Workplaces.

Commercial Interior Design services are in demand, and office fit-outs have been on the rise in Sydney since COVID-19 as businesses adapt to new, more flexible modes of working, and inner-city landlords seek to attract businesses with modern planning solutions.

Ms Margetson’s career path with TAFE NSW has put her in great stead to meet the increased demand for commercial interior design in the wake of COVID-19. Lucky for her, she was offered a taste of the interior design sector earlier than most.

“I first encountered TAFE NSW Design Centre Enmore when I was 17 and still in high school. My school had a TVET (TAFE-Delivered Vocational Education and Training) program that allowed me to complete my final subject for the HSC at TAFE NSW,” Ms Margetson said.

“I was able to complete an industry-recognised Certificate III in Design whilst still at school, and during the process I fell in love with the culture, teachers, and design community that TAFE NSW Design Centre Enmore displayed and knew I wanted to complete further study there.” 

Ms Margetson enrolled in the Diploma of Interior Design and then Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) to continue her career path. Throughout Ms Margetson’s studies, she had the opportunity to build up her industry connections and knowledge by working in part-time jobs within the design industry to gain practical experience. 

“Since finishing the bachelor’s degree I have been offered a position as a Graduate Interior Designer at Axiom Workplaces located in Sydney’s CBD specialising in commercial workplace interior design and construction,” Ms Margetson said. 

“I love my new job as a fully-fledged interior designer, and I have TAFE NSW to thank for giving me the industry connections that helped me get my foot in the door.”

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Interior Design, Todd Packer, said COVID-19 had caused a shift in the commercial interior design sector, and increased demand to respond to changes in ways of working.

“We’ve seen that more corporate employers expect their people to work from home at least two days a week which has led to a design emphasis on custom collaboration and community spaces.

“The permanent shift to virtual teams has also forced a total rethink of the technological setup of most contemporary office spaces.”

Mr Packer said unique networking events like the Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) virtual “Industry Speed Date” helped students get the connections to secure in-demand employment after their studies.

“The Industry Speed Date provides a casual forum for local industry to interview graduating students from the Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) for potential internship placements and employment opportunities.

“We’re committed to giving our students the best possible job outcomes and these industry events are key to forging meaningful relationships between the sector and TAFE NSW,” Mr Packer said.

Ms Margetson said that the subjects she completed throughout her time at TAFE NSW provided her with a vast portfolio that explored different industries within design along with a strong understanding of the practical design process. 

“TAFE NSW not only provided me with design training, but also practical workplace skills such as public speaking, presenting, time management, working within a team, punctuality and more.

“The smaller sized classes at TAFE NSW meant a personalised experience and gave me the chance to create relationships with both staff and students. The projects were always hands-on and the up-to-date training provided me with practical skills to go out into the design industry with.”

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