Alicia changes direction for a flourishing career

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

North Perth resident Alicia Ferrer presents an inspiring example of a successful career change. After studying at Challenger TAFE she has been able to kick-start her career, set-up her own business as a landscape designer and win a national competition in the process.

Alicia studied interior design in Valencia and Paris before moving to Australia. After 10 years of working as an interior designer Alicia found herself at a crossroads.

“I didn’t see where interior design could take me next and I really needed a new challenge,” Alicia said.  

It took a holiday to Bali for Alicia to see what her next step would be.

“After seeing those beautiful tropical gardens I realised that I could take my interior design experience and understanding of space and style and apply it to an outdoors environment,” she said.

“But I also realised I had very limited knowledge of plants and other materials and techniques used in gardens.”

She decided to enrol in a Certificate IV course in landscape design at Challenger TAFE and hasn’t looked back since.

“The course has really ignited my passion for landscaping. It taught me how to create a long-lasting growing environment for my clients,” Alicia said.

“I can’t believe how much I learned about plants, mostly thanks to Elizabeth King, the excellent lecturer for the ‘plants for designers’ cluster.”

The landscape design course also focuses on how to set up and run a business. So once she finished her course, Alicia’s next step was to start her own business, KOKATU Design.

Around the same time she won the Fleming’s Student Design Award, part of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. This competition offers landscape design students the opportunity to showcase their talent and gain valuable experience within the industry.

“Seeing my Urban Cage design come to life close to the gardens of all those well-known designers was amazing,” Alicia said.

“And meeting people that are prominent in the landscape industry was invaluable. I’m sure it will help make KOKATU Design a success.”

 “It’s only a start, but studying at Challenger TAFE has given me the knowledge and confidence to become a successful landscape designer.”

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