‘Who’d have thought that a small town girl from Nyngan would be invited to show at Melbourne Fashion Week 2020?’ says Bethany Young, reflecting on her post-school education journey as she completes a Bachelor of Design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design in Melbourne.
FROM LITTLE THINGS
This is not the only wonderful achievement for her in 2020. She was also awarded a grant to use wool in her graduate design clothing collection. Coming from a family farm that produces wool, she says this was very close to her heart and was extremely proud to be chosen for the award.
She grew up on a property in regional NSW, about 30km from the nearest small town. Her mother was a quilter which started her interest in sewing, but it wasn’t until she had a brilliant textiles and design teacher in year 11 and 12, who shared her passion for the industry, that Bethany was inspired to pursue further education in the design field.
She says the course at the Whitehouse Institute of Design was both difficult and incredibly rewarding. She needed to navigate the final year of her course amid the ‘harshest’ of lockdowns during the pandemic in Melbourne, and changes to her course aimed at easing the workload, instead made it more challenging. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, she learned many life skills and truly found her passion.
Bethany knows that there will be more aspiring young designers like herself coming through the ranks in Australia and says ‘if my journey can help other regional students like me to achieve their goals or accolades like I have, then I would be interested in being involved in the work of CEF’.
HOW THE GRANT HELPED
Undertaking such a practical and hands on course means the personal outlay for materials and supplies is very expensive.
The CEF Nyngan grant meant she was able to buy the art supplies, software programs and even specially sourced materials for her work, which instead of feeling like she was behind, put her well ahead of the pack, resulting in straight high distinctions in her first trimester of study.
I feel like if I hadn’t started the year with the CEF grant, I would’ve felt like I was starting from behind.
Like many regional students who study after school, had she not received financial support, she would have needed to take on employment and this would have affected her focus on her studies, and no doubt changed her results.
While fortunately, she hasn’t need to call on her local CEF for support, she says ‘I know that if I did need to reach out that they would be there to support me in whatever I needed’.
ADVICE FOR REGIONAL STUDENTS?
Bethany says she is not that great at giving advice and instead hopes her journey can be a great example to other regional students. Here at CEF, we think that Bethany is not only a shining example of what is possible, but is also actually pretty good at giving advice, and this is why:
I didn’t enrol into uni until 3 years after I completed high school, so it’s not too late. I didn’t complete high school with a high ATAR, but I was accepted into uni because of my story and my passion. When I was younger I always told myself I wasn’t cut out for uni, but when I got there I applied myself and graduated as a HD student, so it’s never too late to give your best or even to start trying. It doesn’t matter where you come from you can achieve great things and be whoever you want to be.