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New student Adam wins Houzz Building and Construction scholarship

by Sarah MacDiarmid

After 26 years as an Accountant, a new opportunity meant a change of industry was in order for Adam Hopper. But first, he’d need to brush up on his building and construction knowledge. With nothing to lose, he applied for the Houzz Residential Construction Management Scholarship – and won!

A new beginning

When Adam, 47, was offered the chance to take on a management role with a property development and construction company in Wollongong, he was excited to take on a new challenge within an industry he’d always been passionate about.

However, he knew he needed the specific building and construction knowledge and skills if he was going to make a success of it.

“Taking on a management role in a new industry means you have to walk the walk and talk the talk with very experienced employees, suppliers and stakeholders.”

Adam enrolled in Open Colleges’ Certificate IV in Building and Construction in October 2017 and applied for the scholarship soon after.

“I am looking forward to all aspects of the course and am fortunate they can be practically applied straight away in my new role,” he says.”

Getting back to study

While studying alongside his new role can be a challenge, Adam has the added advantage of being able to put his learning to work every day.

“I have already applied the learnings from my first two modules in meetings with Architects and Estimators and this is only the second week in the new role,” he says.

Despite not having studied in a number of years, Adam is optimistic about how he’ll handle learning around his already busy life.

“Online study is the perfect option for me given I’m starting full time work in a new career and raising a young family. This will allow me to study at my own pace and juggle these competing demands,” he says. “I’m also lucky to have a lot of skilled practitioners at my new employer who could help out with the more technical aspects of the course.”

“My Daddy helped build that!”

Feeling like he was becoming a little stale in his finance career, Adam believes this new opportunity has reignited his career.

“Previously when my son, Xavier, asked, ‘what do you do at work, Daddy?’, he didn’t understand the concept of financial models, business plans and the like. But in this new role he can see all the apartments and buildings the company is developing and he gets it,” Adam explains.

Finally following my passion

For Adam, it seems like this new direction is much more than simply a career change – it’s a chance to finally immerse himself in an industry he’s always been passionate about. “I have always loved the building industry,” he explains.

“I worked as a Builder’s Labourer for my Grandfather during school and university holidays, and was on my first site at 9 years old! I also did Year 10 work experience with at an Architects in Tamworth.”

Since then, Adam has undertaken a few renovations (often roping in family and friends to help out). He featured one of these projects on his Houzz profile when applying for the scholarship. “Working with my hands and creating something from raw materials is very satisfying,” he says.

houzz scholarship building

Houzz Scholarship Program

Before applying for the scholarship, Adam didn’t know too much about Houzz. However, he quickly realised the online platform for home renovation and design would be an invaluable resource for his studies.

“I was stoked [to receive the scholarship]. I applied because I had a bit of free time after being retrenched and was excited about my change in career. I didn’t expect a (very!) matured aged student to be awarded a scholarship.”

The scholarship that Adam was awarded is one of three scholarships on offer in 2018. Find out if the Houzz Scholarship Program can help you along the way to achieving your career goals in either architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and construction management.

With the world’s largest residential design database, Houzz helps people “find inspiration, get advice, find products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality”.

Ready for a career in building and construction?

Open Colleges have a range of courses that can help you get started in the industry or move into management roles. Find your course now.

Or, find out how studying online can help you get a Builder’s Licence in your state.

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