TAFE NSW is helping to fuel the local handmade industry by training and supporting small business owners like Dulwich Hill jewellery store owner Connie Dimas.
Recent research from Roy Morgan showed that 93% of Australians were more likely to buy products made in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
It’s great news for handmade jewellery designer Connie, but she wasn’t always destined for a career in the jewellery industry.
“Though I grew up with design in my blood; a shoemaker and dressmaker as parents, I chose to follow an academic path, studying science and mathematics at the University of NSW, Sydney,” Connie said.
“After years trying to find my passion in the science world, I stumbled across an opportunity to create jewellery and absolutely fell in love. I immediately enrolled to study Jewellery and Object Design at TAFE NSW Design Centre Enmore and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Connie excelled in several roles in Australian Jewellery manufacturing businesses and now owns her own jewellery store in Dulwich Hill – Connie Dimas Jewellery. She says the shift to hands-on training changed the course of her life.
“I finally had the opportunity to express my individuality and experiment within the required syllabus to develop my own style.
“Creating by hand has always been my true passion, and the opportunity to work with my customers to design and perfect their unique pieces is the best part of my job.”
TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Jewellery Design + Manufacture, Gina Kind said the pandemic had forced many people to reassess their purchasing habits and reliance on imported goods.
“We know that during the pandemic many people started to think about how their purchasing habits impacted the local economy and saw a huge shift towards locally-made items. This was partly out of necessity but also due to a general acknowledgement that our shopping habits have a tangible impact on our local businesses,” Ms Kind said.
“TAFE NSW is helping to train people in all areas of design to support the push towards locally sourced craftsmanship. In jewellery making, we have a proud history of producing incredible talent who go on to work in some of Australia’s most prestigious jewellery companies or open their own businesses.”
The Certificate III in Jewellery Manufacture provides students with hands-on skills in all aspects of jewellery fabrication in custom artist studios so students graduate ready for a career in the industry.
Connie says she is a passionate advocate for TAFE NSW after the training and support she received at Design Centre Enmore. She’s now encouraging her children to consider pursuing a course at TAFE NSW.
“TAFE NSW gives you an opportunity to study a broad range of careers and start studying at a certificate level to build up towards the career you want. Most students are not sure what career path to study and locking into a long-term diploma or degree can put pressure on a teenager,” she said.
“I have encouraged both my teenagers to look at TAFE NSW courses in their chosen interests. One of them took up a TVET course during high school and he is so grateful to have done so, he feels that he is already ahead.”