Four former hairdressing students proved they were a cut above the rest, progressing into varied careers directly within the College.
Sophie Barwick started her journey over 10 years ago, initially as a Hairdressing Apprentice with Kirby College (now Middlesbrough College) at Glamour in Hinderwell and then Enrico’s Salon in Guisborough.
After completing her qualification, Sophie stayed within the industry as a qualified stylist for 6 years, but always had aspirations to move into education. Alongside working in her role at a salon, she returned to the College to complete a Foundation Degree in Leadership & Management, moving onto a PGCE the following year.
It was at that point that Sophie was offered the opportunity to become an hourly paid Lecturer at the College, and she made such an impression that this quickly turned into a full-time position teaching Level 2 & 3 Hairdressing students.
Sophie said: “Since joining the College I have continued to develop my professional skills, topping up my FdA to a BA (Hons) in Business Management and completing an Assessor Award.”
Sophie is now the Curriculum Team Leader for Hair, Beauty and Catering and has helped hundreds of student’s progress their careers. And this includes former students’ Charlotte McKay, Rachael Boddy and Emma Fairbank-Taylor.
Like Sophie, Charlotte started at the College through an apprenticeship at Graham Daniels in Billingham. Upon completion she stayed at the College, helping to launch the in-house barbershop, SIRS Barbers.
Whilst working as a qualified barber, she completed an Assessor Award to give her the skills to teach on the Level 2 & 3 Hairdressing and Barbering courses.
Charlotte commented: “I’ve been teaching at the College now for two years and absolutely love it.
“Having been an apprentice here myself, I can relate with the students and offer advice from my own experience.”
Meanwhile, Rachael and Emma took up roles as qualified stylists at the Graduate Salon following completion of their Retrain to Hairdressing qualifications.
Rachael currently works as a part-time stylist Thursday to Saturday each week with a number of regular clients on her books.
She said: “Before the course I had no previous hairdressing experience, so it has been great to progress straight into the industry.
“From cutting to colouring, the course taught me a range of new skills which I use on a daily basis.”
Emma, who has recently been promoted to Salon Manager, decided to return to education when her children were a little older.
She said: “After completing my course I applied to be a fully qualified stylist at the Salon.
“It was great to continue in the College environment. The Graduate Salon is such a lovely place to work and the team are fantastic.”
Emma was then given the chance to complete her Assessor Award at the College, to help support students training within the salon.
Fast forward a few years and when a vacancy came up for Salon Manager, Emma jumped at the chance.
"I had big shoes to fill but the experience has been amazing. As well as teaching and assessing in the salon, I now managing six members of staff whilst carrying out day-to-day admin - my schedule is jam-packed but I love it. I'm still in touch with my previous clients from the salon so it's always lovely to see them when they visit the salon.