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Designing his future

When Garnet Evans found his passion for interior design and decoration at TAFE Queensland, he never thought it would lead him to a design role for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Athlete’s Village - yet here he is. 

Thanks to TAFE Queensland, Garnet Evans was able to secure his first role in industry, and later, had the opportunity to work with the GOLDOC overlay team where he helped to design the Athlete’s Village for the GC2018.

The 19-year-old Gold Coast local played an integral part in conceptualising the hair and beauty salon for the Commonwealth Games, the staple piece in the Athlete’s Village, which he said has taken his career to ‘elevated heights’.

“The opportunity to work on such a recognisable global event, designing something from the ground up in a professional environment, as well as having that experience on my resume at this stage of my career is just huge,” said Garnet.

“Once I won the salon brief, we basically got to intern there, applying the things we learnt for credit to my diploma. It was so fantastic to be really immersed in a practical working environment for a large portion of my courses, and develop my skills and knowledge on-the-job,” he said.

Since completing his diploma at TAFE Queensland, Garnet has gone on to work across a variety of projects for the Athlete’s Village, allowing him to really step outside his comfort zone and tackle new challenges.

“Working for the Commonwealth Games you do really wear a lot of hats. While I did get to design the restaurant and bar area for the Village, I also took over containment, logistics, some architectural elements, and so many more,” said Garnet.

Enrolling in the Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration at TAFE Queensland two years ago was Garnet’s first step in discovering his career path, in the hope her could transform something he had always been good at and enjoyed into a successful profession.

Although Garnet’s interest in design and architecture began as a child, when he would often spend hours building little villages in his bedroom, he says his true passion for the field was born at TAFE Queensland.

“It wasn’t very long before I realised it all came really naturally to me and I was picking up things very quickly. Within the first few weeks I was sure I was on the right path with my studies. I believe if you’re good at something and enjoy it, why not get paid for it?” said Garnet.

While admitting he initially faced fears surrounding the viability of the potential career prospects working in a creative field, Garnet said these fears were certainly put at ease once he commenced his diploma at TAFE Queensland.

“Once I got to TAFE Queensland I realised there was actually so many different career pathways, including commercial, residential, and product development roles, and a huge variety of ways you can branch out,” said Garnet.

After just a few short months of study, Garnet landed an employment opportunity with Beaumont Tiles as a weekend casual which he credits to the industry connections he formed at TAFE Queensland that provided him a foot-in-the-door.

“I saw a job come up at Beaumont Tiles as a weekend casual, and I remembered one of my TAFE teachers had said she worked there. One day after class I just went up and told her I was applying,  really sold myself to her, and asked if she’d mind giving me a recommendation, which ended up being a huge reason for me getting the job,” said Garnet.

“It was a fantastic stepping stone into the industry that really allowed me to cross over from being a student to a professional. Even though it was just weekend work it did lead to me becoming one of the in-house interior designers working with builders on residential projects. I also took over store merchandising which was very beneficial industry experience. Before I knew it, I was one of the pinnacle interior designers for that store, which was also one of the Gold Coast’s leading stores,” he said.

“Beaumont Tiles gave me the foundations I needed for the industry and built up both my confidence and abilities, but working for the GC2018 has just propelled me professionally, giving me the confidence and notability to take my career to global heights."

“I’m actually moving to the UK in April, and I now feel I have a real legitimacy as an interior designer and am confident to sell myself as a professional from the Gold Coast,” he said.

Noting his teachers and the practical experiences he gained through his diploma as a real highlight, Garnet said TAFE Queensland is certainly unique in its approach to education.

“Over the course of my diploma I was fortunate enough to be supported by some fantastic teachers, equipped with extensive knowledge and experience, who I now consider both professional industry connections and friends,” said Garnet.

“They were very in touch with the reality of the industry, potential career opportunities and what our roles will actually entail, mentoring us with a very sincere and honest approach which was very much beneficial for both my Commonwealth Games and Beaumont Tiles experience and beyond,” he said.

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast Region - General Manager, Karen Dickinson, said TAFE Queensland is committed to their students’ future development and is thrilled to have facilitated key practical industry experiences for Garnet, alongside many other students.

“TAFE Queensland’s partnership with GC2018 means we can facilitate hundreds of world-class work experience and employment opportunities across a wide range of industries, in what really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience at any stage of your career,” Karen said.

“We could not be more thrilled to offer the experience to our students, as an opportunity to showcase their talents and skills developed with us at TAFE Queensland, to the world,” she said.

TAFE Queensland has a long and proud history of providing students with practical learning experiences. Partnering with the GC2018 is just another way in which TAFE Queensland continues to Make Great Happen for its Queensland students.

As the Official Training Partner for GC2018, TAFE Queensland is training 15,000 volunteers to provide them with the skills needed to make the event a success.