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TAFE-made champion

North Metropolitan TAFE Printing and Graphic Arts student Elliot Tawns won the 2017 Australian Adobe Certified Associate Championship; North Metropolitan TAFE students have won four out of the last five editions of the national competition.

The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) World Championship is a global competition that tests students’ design skills using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. The competition is open to all students between 13-22 years of age currently enrolled in approved, accredited academic institutions, such as schools, training providers and universities.

After winning the national stage of the competition, Elliot will now fly to Anaheim, California, to represent Australia and New Zealand in the World Championship, where he will receive a short brief to create a designated design project for a chosen not-for-profit client.

“I was very surprised, I was not expecting to win at all”, said Elliot, who completed the project in a day on campus. “It felt just like a class assignment.”

Elliot first joined North Metropolitan TAFE in 2012, having left school halfway through Year 11, and completed the Certificates III and IV and the Diploma of Visual Art. He said he wasn’t enjoying his time at school, but found a great environment at North Metropolitan TAFE.

“I really enjoyed being around people who had the same interests as me, who also wanted to be artists”, he said. “It was easy to make friends and I learned a lot about the industry.”

After completing the Visual Art pathway, he attempted to go to university, but says it was a lot like school. He believes his time at TAFE had more benefits.

“TAFE gave me more space to be creative, to do my own thing”, he said. “I came out of it feeling like I have achieved something. It’s a lot more hands on, as you jump straight into the industry. At uni, I had a class where I studying something that I had already learned during my Certificate III.”

“Lecturers at TAFE are helpful, accessible and approachable, I felt comfortable asking questions”, he said. “At uni, there’s not so much support and you even have to schedule a meeting to see a lecturer. TAFE gives you a lot of help to learn.”

He says the progression from Visual Art to Graphic Arts was motivated by better employment prospects in the area and the transferable skills he would be able to develop.

“I want to be an artist, an illustrator; to paint murals, to create. Getting a qualification in Graphic Arts allows me to do that with more job opportunities”, he said. “It is also a career that you can pick up and go anywhere, as everyone uses the same software. I have friends working in Sydney, in Melbourne, in the UK…”

Elliot will continue his Design studies with the Diploma of Graphic Design at North Metropolitan TAFE next year. With a national competition under his belt – and in his resume! –, he wants to use the next six months to work on his art and plans on putting together his own exhibition.

“My lecturers are all from industry and have industry connections. They know my art and my skills, so they can give great exposure to my work.”

North Metropolitan TAFE Printing and Graphic Arts lecturer John Fitzsimmons was the one who encouraged students to participate in the competition. He says Elliot has a great future ahead of him.

“Elliot listens and asks questions in class. He is well organised and interacts well with his classmates”, he said. “It has been a pleasure to teach him and to watch him explore different options to produce outstanding work. We are proud to have him represent the college in the global competition and wish him the best in the US.”

* North Metropolitan TAFE’s Certificate III in Printing and Graphic Arts is now called Certificate III in Print Communication. The college is an Adobe Certified Associate Program Provider, which means all Certificate III students sit the Adobe exam as part of their qualification and can become Adobe Certified professionals during their studies.

Page last updated July 04, 2017