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TAFE NSW and Vinnies spark ideas for creative careers

TAFE NSW Moss Vale

TAFE NSW and Vinnies spark ideas for creative careers

Sewing: Your Style is a Program collaboration between TAFE NSW and Vinnies Inclusion service, Creative Space in Bowral and it is putting people on a pathway to employment and training while giving old jeans a new lease on life.

Participants graduate from the eight-week program with a shoulder bag they make from upcycled denim sourced from the Local Vinnies shop via Creative Space. The Program also provides the potential for a confidence boost and social connection that can lead to further training or spark a new career.

The program started this year, with the first group graduating in August and another class underway now.

Sarah Prince, a graduate of the first group, enrolled to expand her sewing skills. Now she hopes to start a small business selling denim shoulder bags and a range of other upcycled items.

“As a single mum and full-time carer, this was something I could fit in with my life,” she said.

“I came to Creative Space for this course because I’ve always enjoyed sewing and wanted to build up my skills. One thing this course did for me was give me the confidence to create more bags and to go out on my own and sell them,” Sarah said.

Since completing the course, she has made more bags and has had interest from people who’ve seen them who are keen to purchase from her. Part of the attraction is the bags are made from recycled jeans. “Everyone has a favourite old pair of jeans and having them upcycled into a bag is a useful way to reuse them,” she said.

Sarah is planning on selling the bags at the Colo Vale Monthly Markets as well as at Creative Space during the upcoming Southern Highlands ARTS Trail.

Vinnies’ Creative Space Team Leader Tania McInnes is proud the space has become “a micro-community of learning.” It’s like a community centre with art at the heart of what we do,” she said.

Local community has donated sewing machines and most of the materials used at Creative Space for this course as well as their regular Community Sewing Days. “We support Makers who connect with us to participate in the arts professionally, whether it be exhibitions, competitions, or the sale of work.

“We all deserve to feel connected in our community. TAFE NSW providing workshops here is a vital piece of the Creative Space puzzle. It can lead to creative small business ideas, education and employment pathways which are an important part of what we do,” Tania said.

The TAFE NSW course provides skills for further learning and engagement and can set participants up to enter the workforce or enrol in more training.

TAFE NSW Moss Vale teacher Nola Peters said the course provides skills in sewing combined with a range of skills employers are looking for. “Communication, listening, patience and a willingness to learn, attention to detail, and comprehension of task instructions are all skills participants will use.

“Yes, it’s the sewing and social interaction that attracts most of our participants, and while they are learning to sew, they are stretching their skills and confidence,” Nola said.

Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0466 375 552.