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Linda Daniele

One of Australia’s finest design colleges threw open its doors in September to showcase the work of its latest crop of talented students.

Home to some of Australia’s most successful young designers, Design Centre Enmore is the TAFE NSW, Sydney Institute college for design.

The college’s open day allowed prospective students and their families to talk to teachers, tour the facilities, participate in interactive displays and pick up an application form for next year.

In a first for TAFE NSW, one such application form available is for a degree at the college.

Design Centre Enmore has launched a three year degree program in interior design, that will have its first intake in 2011.

The Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) aims to strike a balance between academic and practical learning, and will be taught by design practitioners in a real world creative design environment.

Todd Packer, head teacher of the interior design and decoration department at Design Centre Enmore, said the degree will “bridge the gap between our strong reputation for vocational excellence, and those students looking to study to an internationally-recognised standard in interior design”.

The degree program will build on the excellent reputation of the existing advanced diploma, with a more theorybased degree that has a practical, career-oriented focus, according to Mr Packer.

In conjunction with the open day, the college hosted a young designer’s market in the quadrangle of the college, with an array of work from young designers available to purchase.

“It’s a tough job market out there,” Design Centre Enmore director Dr Jeffrey Crass said. “Whilst our training can give students the skills that employers want, we make learning a fun and enjoyable experience.”

Design Centre Enmore specialises in the fields of jewellery design and manufacture, interior design, graphic design, digital media, 3D animation, product design, events design and illustration.

Audrey Toth is a third year apprentice in jewellery manufacture studying at Design Centre Enmore, who recently won the “Women at Work – making a difference” study award for 2010. 

The award provides financial support for women to further their careers in manufacturing and automotive industries and is made possible by Manufacturing Skills Australia.

 As well as doing her apprenticeship, Audrey is studying a diploma in gemmology and has also started studying hand engraving at Design Centre Enmore.

Audrey Toth

 According to her teacher, Darren May, in his 20 years as a practising jeweller in Sydney he has only come across one other female gem setter. “Historically the jewellery manufacturing industry has been male-dominated,” Mr May said.

 “The techniques used in making jewellery have not changed for hundreds of years, requiring a lot of manual labour, and with some techniques requiring physical strength.  Audrey is breaking stereotypes as she makes her mark as a manufacturer, especially be choosing to be a gem setter,” he said.

Audrey said that working as an apprentice at AE Design, a boutique jewellery studio located in the Sydney CBD, for her employer Apkar Ervan has been a challenging and rewarding experience.

“Having chosen a path least travelled [by women] I experienced a bit of scepticism and sometimes shock and astonishment from fellow trades people when they saw and heard that I was, a young girl, learning to become a setter,” she said.

“Apkar has shown me the importance of technique and preparation in my work as opposed to relying on force of application.”

Audrey’s boss invested in a compressor to aid Audrey with certain jobs. “This work place initiative is new technology compared to the way things have been done traditionally. It means that more women like me are not limited in their work choices,” she said.

Mr Ervan, a third generation jeweller and setter, ceased trading for the day that Audrey received the award and travelled to Brisbane with her to share in her success.

Audrey Toth's work

“The jewellery industry needs more women like Audrey to raise the bar in this new generation. This award not only recognises her achievements, but also helps to break down the barriers that have held back other women from choosing such a rewarding career,” he said.

This article was first published in Precinct magazine, Issue 10/2010.

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