A Gap Year to Remember

The impossibility of a city growing out of the sand lead this would-be automotive engineer on a career path that he never anticipated. Now, he has a thriving career in building and construction management, having completed a Bachelor of Environments (Architecture) and a Master of Construction Management, at Melbourne University, where he received the Dean’s Honours Award last year and was Valedictorian at the Melbourne School of Design graduation ceremony earlier this year.

Having accepted a position in RMIT’s Bachelor of Automotive Engineering, Tim Wastell (2006, Millward House Captain) took a gap year and lived in Dubai, UAE and parts of southern England.

Tim says that in the Middle East he was exposed to incredible architecture and construction on a scale that he had never seen.

“I was 18 and it was my first time out of Australia – my mind was blown.

“I was inspired by the vision that the Arab nations had for their future cities and knew that I had to be a part of it.

In the UAE, near Dubai

In the UAE, near Dubai

“It only took a semester of the Engineering degree in 2008 to confirm that my real passion lies in architecture and construction. So I started the architecture degree at Melbourne University the following year,” he said.

Tim has since been involved in the design and construction of a number of Melbourne buildings and is currently part of a team at Probuild Constructions, building a 77-storey apartment building in the Melbourne CBD.

One of Tim’s more memorable projects was the Melbourne School of Design facility at Melbourne University, which he worked on whilst undertaking his Masters at the University, having done his Bachelor degree in the old building that was later demolished.

“I timed it perfectly. I was able to use the new building as a student of the Masters programme once we had finished building it.

“The new building achieved a 6 Star Green Star Design rating by the Green Building Council of Australia and is the first education facility to be awarded the maximum 10 Green Star innovation credits”, he said.

Tim says that his most influential teacher was Mrs Wastell, who also happens to be his mother.

“Her support and guidance during Year 11 as my English teacher placed me in great stead for VCE English the following year.

“As both a mother and a teacher, she is an amazing role model and she instilled in me a great drive to follow my dreams,” he said.

Having studied both Physical Education and Sport and Recreation in Year 12, Tim’s other love is sport, and in particular, soccer. He has been an outdoor recreation instructor at an adventure centre in the UAE and a soccer coach at an international summer school in England.

Travel is also high on Tim’s agenda. At the start of this year he went on a study tour of India and was able to see the vast architectural contrasts with the Middle Eastern cities that originally inspired him. His appreciation of the challenges the construction industry faces have broadened his perceptions of the need to shape the physical environment. He is also looking forward to a trip to China for Probuild, planned for early next year.

Working in the UAE; briefing students before a bike ride

Working in the UAE; briefing students before a bike ride