A CREATIVE streak and a long-time ambition to become a hairdresser prompted Emma Fairbank-Taylor to realise her dream via Middlesbrough College.
The 37-year-old mum of three is well on her way to becoming a professional hairdresser thanks to the College’s retrain courses.
Emma, who is mum to two teenagers and an eight-year-old, embarked on a level 2 hairdressing course last year, and has excelled since.
She’s now studying towards a level 3 qualification which will equip her with all the skills needed to become a professional stylist. Emma, from Yarm, said: “I was at a point where my children were getting a little older and I could afford to take some time to pursue what I’ve always wanted to do.
“Hairdressing had been an ambition of mine for a long time and as the timing felt right – I found out about the Middlesbrough College courses and decided to take the plunge.”
Having left school to work with racehorses, and subsequently working jobs in hotels, bars and a playgroup, Emma wanted to try her hand at a profession that held a certain fascination for her.
She explained: “I’ve been quite creative since I was young, and hairdressing was something that was always on my radar. In fact, my grandma had encouraged me to take it up for some time.
“I love everything about the job, and the training at the College – particularly from the amazing staff there – has been first rate.”
Since starting her training, Emma has gained valuable experience through volunteer work at Shine Hairdressing at Preston Farm, and in the College’s own fully-functioning hair salon, Francescos.
The salon – operated via the prestigious Francesco Group chain – is open to the public and provides hairdressing and beauty treatments to clients.
Trainees like Emma provide the services expected of a high quality high street salon, under the guidance of experienced College tutors from industry.
Emma explained: “I worked at Francescos full time during the summer and loved every minute of it.
“I was interviewed for the position, as the salon is run like any other business. This type of experience will really help me find the next step once I’ve completed the course.”
Other mums and part-time workers are among the cohort of retrain students Emma is training with.
Students spend between three to four days in the college, gaining theoretical and practical experience across all parts of the job – from colouring to health and safety and bridal styling.
Alongside her studies Emma is providing mobile hairdressing to private clients, and her long-term ambition is to open her own salon.
Sophie Barwick, Hairdressing Curriculum Team Leader at Middlesbrough College, said: “Emma is a fantastic student and a should be a source of inspiration for others like her who are thinking of a career change, getting back into work or gaining new skills.
“Our courses are flexible enough to accommodate people who might be working part time or caring for children. “We have first class facilities and staff here at Middlesbrough College. Our salon is designed to give students the skills and confidence they’ll need once they enter work.”
For more information on the retraining opportunities available at Middlesbrough College, please call 01642 333344.