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Caroline Joukhdar has spent years caring for her family. When life circumstances changed, she hit rock bottom with depression. Caroline is now rebuilding her self-confidence after discovering a passion for interior design.
After starting a hobby of selling pieces of furniture and various products, people were responding well to what she was doing. Caroline began staging for open homes and thought if this was all she was going to do for the rest of her life, she needed a qualification to take it further. Caroline approached TAFE NSW Lidcombe about studying the Certificate IV Interior Decoration.
“When I called to find out about the course, the lady I spoke to was so beautiful and so understanding. I had reservations about studying as I had never done any study but that one phone call lead to me enrolling in the class as a mature age student,” said Caroline Joukhdar.
Caroline had no educational background or qualifications after spending years caring for her family so the thought of attending class was a petrifying situation for her.
“I had considered walking out a number of times, had it not been for my supportive and encouraging teachers, Emma, Narie, Kerry and Catherine and my wonderful colleagues in class. I also couldn’t do it without the support and love of my family who has been there every step of the way.
“When I sit with the girls in the class, I forget my age; it’s just a number. I have really surprised myself with my ability.”
One aspect of interior design that Caroline always thought was going to be tricky and overwhelming was learning how to do floor plans.
“I was panicking about having to design floor plans, but it’s an area that I thrive in. My son is a builder and I’ve been able to put in place what I’ve learnt in my studies, the practical skills I’ve gained at TAFE NSW are helping me to help him with his business.”
“I’m proud of everything I have achieved, I came in here thinking you can coordinate this colour with that and this chair with that but there is so much more to learn – lighting makes a big difference as do textures, I’m learning all this through the interior decorating course.
Studying has not just been about learning new skills, for Caroline it has also been about self-healing and finding a sense of purpose.
“I feel worthy and even my kids have seen a change in me. I am proud that I helped myself as everyone has always depended on me and I never once stopped and said it is my turn. Now I am doing something for myself.
“No one can help you except you, you either stay down or you go up. I knew that it was not the end for me.
Caroline is enjoying her studies, has plans to enrol in the Diploma Interior Design in Semester 2 and would like to continue helping her son with his business.
With the building industry across NSW booming, especially in the area of residential construction, there is a demand for interior designers. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures shows it is currently our economy’s top performing sector and the Housing Industry Association confirms that a record number of new homes were started in 2014/15 (an increase of 16.9 per cent).
According to research by the Australian Government, the number of interior designers grew over the past five years and is expected to grow strongly over the next five years from 14,000 in 2018 to 16,100 by 2023.
To find out more about studying interior design at TAFE NSW visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601
Media contact: Teresa Lane, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner 9796 5476, mobile 0412 773 887