Iranian architect finds freedom and opportunity
17 November, 2022 3 min read
Against the tumultuous backdrop of Iran, Shahin Malekizadeh achieved success in architecture and started a family, however, ultimately, left in search of a better future in Australia. With help from CSQ funded training at TAFE Queensland he has landed on his feet and is once again thriving in his new home.
Shahin recalls the competition to study architecture in his home country:
“I studied more than 12 hours a day for a year to pass the exam.” Before graduating university, Shahin began work as an architectural drafter for a consulting engineering company; by earning the trust of his managers he was accepted onto the design team.
From there Shahin worked for 14 years in Iran, working his way up from being a member of the design team, to becoming the manager of the design department. Never one to sit idle, Shahin continued learning and “achieved the highest degree in design and supervision of architecture in Iran.”
Professional success, however; did not compensate for the restrictive life in Iran: “During all those years, I was suffering from being deprived of a free life. Many people in Iran were searching for freedom, and are still, because of many social and political issues and restrictions.”
Shahin watched as friends emigrated from his home country, and when his son was born in 2013, he says he and his wife “decided to leave Iran and not let our son be deprived of a free life like us.” This was a very difficult decision for Shahin and his young family, especially after having gone through so many difficulties to reach his professional position.
Finally, in late 2018, after three years of efforts to get permanent residency in Australia Shahin says, “together with my son and my wife, we entered this beautiful country and chose Brisbane as our new home.”
Even safely in Australia, Shahin faced many challenges, particularly professionally. His many years of study and experience in Iran were not recognised in Australia and Shahin found it difficult to find work in the industry he had loved from childhood.
After six months of unsuccessful applications, he took on a job as a labourer “to learn more about local construction methods.” After six months of hard work, he was able to find a job as a draftsman, and through this experience he managed to acquire a job as a technical design manager at another business.
Working his way back up through the ranks, Shahin knew he needed to upskill if he wanted to succeed:
“I knew that I would not be able to get a suitable position without updating my knowledge and learning about Australian construction industry standards and regulations, so after a lot of inquiry, I chose the course Diploma of Building & Construction with the help of TAFE [Queensland] teachers.”
“Through the introduction of one of the teachers I found a building design and estimating job with a building company called Hewitson Homes. By entering this company, I became eligible to receive funds from CSQ, and with its help, I was able to finish the course and get my diploma.”
Shahin learnt many things he had no knowledge of before doing the course. For example, he had never learnt about the design and construction of timber structures because “in Iran, due to earthquakes and the high price of timber, buildings are made with steel and concrete.”
Shahin still loves design and the construction industry and looks forward to succeeding in his new home. He has now been working with Hewitson Homes for two years and is continuing to learn and grow into his new career path:
“I am honoured to participate in the design, estimating and construction processes of residential projects. I hope that in the coming years I will be able to play a role in bigger projects and achieve all the steps of progress that I have already taken in my native country, Iran, in my new home, Australia.”