TAFE NSW skills in demand ahead of retail rebound

When Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift in NSW and the retail sector reopens in earnest, visual merchandising will be more important than ever to catch the eye and draw consumers into store. In preparation, TAFE NSW is providing a pipeline of skilled visual merchandisers to support the reopening of NSW’s economy.

“We know that retail experienced a strong bounce-back after the 2020 lockdowns in NSW, so it’s important to train workers now for once restrictions are lifted,” Visual Merchandising Teacher Nicola Stewart says.

“Through a mix of theory and practical coursework, students in the Diploma learn to create plans and drawings to communicate ideas, develop visual merchandising creative concepts, design and implement merchandise displays and more.”

A passion for merchandising

Graduate Alex Pugliese began his retail career early on, enrolling in a TVET course at school to learn aspects of his preferred vocational trade in year 11.

“I was able to secure some work experience where they allowed me to work on some visual merchandising and I loved it, so they commented that maybe this was something I could look at doing professionally,” Mr Pugliese says.

“As soon as I finished the retail services course I knew I wanted to pursue visual merchandising as a career, and my experience with vocational education had shown me that I would get real, hands-on skills I could put into practice in the workplace.”

Mr Pugliese left school at the end of year 11 and enrolled in the nationally accredited Diploma of Visual Merchandising, which builds the high level of knowledge and skills needed to excel as a visual merchandiser or stylist in both the retail and events industry.

He was recently awarded the 2021 Supply Chain and eCommerce Student of the Year at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards and received second place in the international “Iron Merchant Challenge” during his studies. He’s now employed as a Furniture Specialist and Visual Merchandising Support at Eden nursery Macquarie Park.

Building skills and confidence

Mr Pugliese says TAFE NSW gave him the confidence to explore his talents, now he’s in a career he loves. he’s excited to see where his new career can take him.

“Once you find your passion – go for it. Ask a lot of questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your teachers at TAFE NSW, they are extremely knowledgeable and open to helping you even after the course has concluded.”

To find out more about the range of study options available at TAFE NSW including the Diploma of Visual Merchandising, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.

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