Heather has completed the New Zealand Certificate in Interior Décor (Level 4) and now has her eye on SIT2LRN’s landscape design course, while still exploring opportunities in the hospitality industry.
Most of her career has been in sales and marketing for deluxe hotels and resorts, working in Auckland, Sydney, Queenstown, Christchurch and for nine of the past 12 years she has worked in Fiji.
She was in Fiji this year when the Covid-19 pandemic arose and she had to return to New Zealand with 24 hours’ notice.
“It was a bit traumatic at the time as it all happened so quickly – I was working 12 hours a day in a resort one day and the next day was alone in my uncle’s small bach in Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula with no job."
“I found out on the plane that New Zealand was going into total lockdown the next day. What was going to be 14 days’ self-isolation turned into seven weeks in lockdown and I stayed at the bach
for four months before relocating to Christchurch.”
During lockdown, Heather decided she needed to do something positive for herself and her future.
“With the uncertainty around Covid and the tourism industry I knew that I would likely have to transfer my sales skills to another industry."
“I had always been interested in interiors but knew that to be able to work in sales in paint, wallpaper, kitchen design or furnishing fabrics I would need to learn more about it."
“Before I bought my cottage I had spent about a year looking at properties on TradeMe and it struck me how uninspiring the interiors of so many of our homes are – I have always thought it must have an effect on our psyche. I wanted to learnwhat made an interior work and how to create it.”
Heather researched several online interior design courses, but chose SIT2LRN because she wanted to gain a formal qualification from an accredited polytechnic.
“The course was fabulous in every way. I learned an enormous amount – far more than I could ever have imagined. It covered many topics – elements of design, colour theories, developing design concepts, wall and floor coverings, furnishing fabrics, lighting, building plans, timelines for scheduling of renovations, budgets and more."
“I liked that each paper was broken up into several topics, which kept it interesting and each component built on the previous components. I loved developing a concept or being given a design style and then sourcing the components and putting it all together in mood or sample boards.”
From her Rangiora home, Heather found distance learning worked well for her.
“I loved every minute of it and am so grateful to SIT2LRN and the facilitators who developed it and who were very supportive. It was the one constant in my life in a very uncertain time. I now have knowledge I can use in a new industry if I choose to and for myself in my own environment.”