Designing a love of learning

Joneen Rodgers and Hannah Ferens are joint owners of Wellington-based interior design studio, Hello Home Interiors. The creative duo place great importance on mentoring and teaching their two current trainees, with one completing their NKBA (The National Kitchen & Bathroom Association) Kitchen Design Diploma through BCITO, a business division of Te Pūkenga.

Between Hannah and Joneen, they have over 30 years of experience working in New Zealand, Melbourne, and Japan on both commercial and residential projects, and it’s this knowledge gained through experience, that they impart to their trainees.

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“Fostering a genuine learning environment for the entire team is something we work hard at. We set aside time to work on training opportunities and discuss study projects, we have regular team and individual check-ins so anyone can voice their ideas, thoughts, or any concerns they might have. And we also pay for the Kitchen Design Diploma that our trainees undertake,

“We encourage an open, candid culture that allows questioning and training in the day-to-day working environment.” says Joneen.

Hannah and Joneen both place high importance on practical skills development. This includes training in CAD (Computer-Aided Design), which is an important skill to learn in the interior design industry.

“Along with design-related training, we also do bi-annual and SWOT check-ins to identify opportunities a trainee might want to explore within the business, and then we enable this through regular catchups.

“We offer opportunities to learn the business end of the company, as well as imparting our interior design experience. We are members of the NKBA, and we participate in most of their meetings and training opportunities, along with seminars offered by industry suppliers.” continues Hannah.

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After many years of experience in the industry, Hannah, and Joneen both have a lot of advice to share with BCITO trainees and anyone wanting to pursue interior design.

“Start wherever you can. A graduate job is difficult to get, and many smaller companies do not have the budget to hire so consider internships to get your CV full of interior-related work. Apply for jobs with suppliers, art directors, film or theatre companies, kitchen manufacturers, trades, and furniture companies, and get in touch with the architects and designers. You will meet some great people, gain invaluable experience, and perhaps find a path you didn’t imagine at first.

“Signing up for the NKBA Kitchen Design Diploma through BCITO is a smart first step, as BCITO offers a great programme to support trainees through their studies. The training advisors meet regularly with trainees to offer guidance and support on projects and answer any other questions they might have.” says Joneen and Hannah.

Aotearoa New Zealand wants more people from all backgrounds to consider a career in the trades. To learn more, head to https://bcito.org.nz/apprentices/.

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