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From bookkeeper to designer - NMIT student wins window design competition

22 Mar 2013

Paula Caratelli, a first year Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration student at NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE), has won $500 in the Watsonia Shopping Centre Winter Wonderland Competition.

Paula worked as a bookkeeper and payroll officer for 20 years before studying interior design, a field that has always interested her.

“It's always been something I wanted to do, but never had the time or opportunity.”

Her chance to study came after her youngest child started university, leaving Paula with more time to pursue her own interests.

Paula won "Best Window by a Designer" for her design for the Super Cycles store, which cleverly utilised bike parts to create a winter scene.

Paula heard about the competition through her teachers at NMIT's Greensborough campus, and immediately decided to enter. “It was an opportunity to try something new, to use my imagination and get creative.”

“When I walked into the Super Cycles store I saw piles of used bike parts and that sparked an idea.”

Paula's used bike wheels for snowmen and cogs suspended on fishing line as snowflakes, as well as a scatter of silver bike bells across the ground as fallen snow, creating the striking winter effect which impressed the judges.

Paula was delighted by her win. “It gives me confidence with my work. Learning the design process at NMIT has helped, particularly in thinking creatively.”

Her win wasn't the only good news, with the shop owner also asking Paula to continue designing the store's window as a paid job.

Paula says she has no set plans for the future. “First I'd like to complete the course and complete it well - something that I've always wanted to achieve. After that I'd like to find a creative job, where I'll be enthusiastic going to work each day.”

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.