Informal Vocational Education for the Millennials

A story from Jasmine Zulkarnain.

Photo 1. Jasmine Zulkarnain.

In the 21 st century, science and technology have advanced rapidly. Access to information is getting easier and faster with high speed internet connection plus search engine such as google. Millennials these days are getting sharp with their ideas and dreams.

As part of the millennials, there is no way I wanted to be left behind. Words from Chales Eames, an idol of mine who was an architect from United States, "never fear where your ideas will bring you". These words helped me getting rid of any doubt to dream big as a successful architect, my current job.

As an architect that works closely with with the environment. I need to be able to examine the environment issues which may affect the construction and architecture as well as the people who would be their users. Other than being an architect, I’m also a co-lecturer in the Architecture program of the Technical Faculty of Universitas Hasanuddin (UNHAS) in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Great opportunity is coming when the university selects me as the member of the development team to make UNHAS as a World Class University. My responsibility is to guide the students’s project development and help them in the strategic/tactical planning for international accreditation from ASIIN, an international education accreditation body based in Germany.

The dynamic of being an architect encourages me to pursue master degree. The reasons are to improve the skills to a higher level and to evolve my network. Enlisting to a master degree scholarship was the first step to make it happen.

By faith, I came across the USAID PRESTASI scholarship program announcement during my search in the internet. I decided to go on with USAID-PRESTASI Scholarship Program than two offer from the other scholarships. I chose USAID PRESTASI because the U.S. has a reputable source of expertise in engineering. As an architect, cooperating with experts of other field is important to reach the goal.

Photo 2. Jasmine during a presentation in class while studying in Arizona State University, United States.

Through the USAID-PRESTASI scholarship, I continued my study in Master of Interior Architecture program in the Arizona State University, USA, majoring in Environment – Clean Energy field. My wish is helping to form the eco friendly life style and environment while also supporting government sustainable policy in Indonesia especially in Makassar, the place where I grew up and live in.

As a student, I learned how to design a place that can fulfill the continuity of society, culture, environment, and economy. These aspects are focusing on the friendly to environment customer-oriented. These categories form a flowing process in designing space for human.

As an example to build an office tower, it starts from designing the building to suit the human needs with efficient office activities. Then the finishing touch by transforming it into an architecture equipped with support systems. These are the open green space, a sufficient parking area, an integrated water installation, good air circulation, and many others. The key is how to have the human and the space harmonized with the surrounding environment.

I have learned how to be a professional architect with a sensitivity to understand human needs and the nature works by bringing into a work of architecture.

Photo 3.Jasmine (Black checkered blouse) along with her colleagues in wood working class held in Haystack Mountain School.

My passion to improve in many things in my life have lead me to many opportunities. One of them are, The opportunity to join the wood working class held by Arizona State University and Haystack Mountain School. It was an unbelievable stroke of luck. Under the guidance of a world known wood artist Barbara Cooper, my wood-working skill turned out to be very useful in making the prototypes that are easily understood by the workers and master builders.

Putting the knowledge and experience I got from my master study into practice, I started by communicating with the stakeholders in education field, design and constructions experts, and the academics. I formulated a strategy from the result as the handout to support my job as an architect/designer and as a co-lecturer of the Architecture program.

As a millennial, my study has opened a vast horizon of designs ideas. One of the idea is to develop informal vocational that education suitable for the millennial generation. To do so, me and my colleagues have started the first makerspace hub in Makassar.

Photo 4. Jasmine (stripped shirt) along with her four colleagues during the makerspace project.

A Makerspace is a creative forum to bring designers, artists, and creative thinkers into one place where they can work together to create innovative products. This makerspace invites and facilitates the millennials to become creative and more productive.

These days, education is no longer exclusively belongs to educational institutions. The ease of accessing information through the internet allows everyone to grasp knowledge at any time. It is the reason why we are projecting our ideas to maximize informal vocational education through the makerspace.

The plan is to intensify the informal vocational education and to push the mass innovations. The maker space is also a space to invite young people to create an innovative wood works.

Presently the makerspace has completed three sessions of woodworking with the various background participants mostly from none woodworking experience. Aiming for good progress, hopefully the project may attract formal educational institutions such as the UNHAS to participate in this movement as the scientific partner.

It was an honor and a blessing for me to be the alumni of the USAID PRESTASI Scholarship Program. I have matured as a person and as a professional architect with a wider network. My experience as a recipient of the scholarship has helped my students in realizing their dream.

Everything written here are the part of my journey to reach my dream. I hope it will give inspiration to everyone who read it for dare to dream big. Let us contribute our best to develop Indonesia better and bigger.