“I came out confident to start my own business"
Andrew Mero is a passionate, determined and adventurous architectural graduate who loves being outdoors and has a deep devotion to alpine architecture.
He worked as a Building Contractor, a Property Developer, and a Property Manager, to name a few things until he became a Building Designer entrepreneur. He now happily runs his own studio in Mt Beauty and he employs two Wodonga TAFE students.
While working as a builder in Falls Creek, Andrew started thinking about a career in architecture. However, it wasn’t until 2012 when he decided to make a move into it. He did the REVIT short course at Wodonga TAFE and, once completed, he found himself already enquiring about Building Design qualifications.
“It was always a desire of mine to enter into architecture from an early stage in high school. I got caught up in the Falls Creek skiing scene, so it took me about 20 years to wake up to the fact that I should go back to school and learn something other than skiing” he said.
Andrew started the Advanced Diploma of Building Design at Wodonga TAFE in 2013. His experience in the industry made him eligible for some Recognition of Prior Learning so he managed to do the course in one year.
“When I sat down for my first interview, I met with all the teachers and felt there was a really good cross section of abilities, but also that they were very diverse. They all come from different aspects. Some were still working in their job, some were still teaching, but in different stages, so I just felt it was a really good set up to start with” he explained.
“I also chose Wodonga TAFE because I felt it was a stepping stone of just being able to commit as much time as I needed to without making a full commitment to university fees and structure, and it went well” he added.
Nitin Meher, who was one of Andrew’s teachers during his course at TAFE, said that Andrew had been the perfect student on two counts: a mature age, a career changer AND a student making the full use of the pathways available to experienced candidates. “He turned around from a Building contractor to an Architectural Building designer employing two other candidates in a very short time with sheer hard work and dedication. He was able to identify the opportunities offered by Wodonga TAFE and our educational system, firstly by stepping cautiously into the REVIT short course (This is our own pathway to get many building related professionals into the Building design course via FAST track mode) and then undertaking the Advanced Diploma course here. He then took it further to complete the university course. We wish him best of luck in his endeavours.”
After he finished his studies at Wodonga TAFE, he started a Bachelor in Architecture at RMIT, where he got a year and a half credit, and later on, he decided to set up his own studio in Building Design.
“TAFE gave me a really good grounding with real life projects and how actually happens in the real world, which is really important and that was something I didn’t get at university.”
“I came out confident to start my own business and enter into work agreements straight away.”
“When I took that next level of employing people on my own business, I was able to go back to TAFE and speak to tutors there and ask them who was available from their student pool and managed to pick up a couple of students who were excited about working with me and that’s where our business is today so networking is definitely a big part of the outcome.”
His recommendation for those aspiring to become building designers or architects is to go in open-minded, whether a TAFE or university course. He advises them to challenge themselves since they’ll need to challenge things as well. “Don’t take any step back as being an issue. Learn from them and you’ll be really surprised of where you find those windows of opportunities. Usually, they are on the other side of a knockback.”
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