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Students get industry insights on employability week

Posted: 22 January 2021

A London barber who creates cuts and fades for celebrities was just one of the online guests giving West Nottinghamshire College students business advice and guidance during the hair and beauty curriculum’s annual employability week.

Stylist Mark Maciver, whose clients include basketball player Lebron James, boxing champion Anthony Joshua, and rappers Stormzy and Tinie Tempah, took time out of his schedule to speak to Level 2 Barbering students through a Microsoft Teams link.

Students quizzed Mark on how he became interested in barbering at a very young age when he took the confident step to cut his friends’ and family’s hair. Mark said: “I remember when I was about seven, my older brothers went with my next-door neighbour to get a haircut and they came back and were talking about the haircut. I just remember thinking, ‘I cannot wait until I can go to a barbershop one day.”

Mark spoke to students about the key skills needed to be successful, how to boost their portfolio by using Instagram as a promotional tool how to improve their skills and competencies with equipment and tools. He spoke about his dedication to the industry, describing how he reached his success today, owning his own salon, SliderCuts, which is based in East London.

Other sessions for hairdressing students to increase their knowledge during employability week included a demonstration by the curriculum’s support co-ordinator Carly Capill, who showed trainee barbers how to undertake facials, nasal waxing and eyebrow shaping on male clients.

Level 2 and 3 VRQ Hairdressing students were given a live demonstration of how to develop their balayage and hair colouring skills as well as learning how to give clients an Indian head massage, while guest speaker and professional hairdresser Liz Turner from Urban Hair, Hucknall, spoke to groups about what it takes to succeed in the industry.

For those studying on the Level 1 Introduction to the Hair and Beauty Sector, Mansfield Woodhouse-based Hair Vibes salon owner Laura Barnes spoke to learners about how she entered the sector and launched her own business. This group also found out more about the good work undertaken by the charity ‘Look Good, Feel Better.’ The charity specialises in working with people who are going through cancer treatment and helps them to regain confidence after losing their hair or eyelashes and brows.

Sarah Addis from the charity introduced students to this part of the charity sector, which runs make-up artistry sessions with patients, helping them to feel good using make-up from popular cosmetic companies.

Level 3 Beauty Therapy students were able to take part in their own range of workshops, masterclasses and guest talks throughout the week. Emily Bergan, a beauty therapist who owns her own salon ‘Beauty By Emily’ in Leeds, spoke to students about her career so far, how she set up her salon and how she’s coping in the pandemic. 

Two more beauty professionals, Leanne Lewis who has just completed her teaching degree and Suzi Heath of ‘All Things Beauty’ in York shared information with students such as further training and its benefits, how to gain membership to specialist bodies and how to get on in the business.

Level 2 Beauty students were given remote tasks to complete at home such as self-tanning, applying gel nails and make-up artistry students were challenged with showing off creative make-up looks following an online seminar from Lauren Slater from Morphe. These students were also able to undertake 10-minute interviews with Lauren who provided feedback on their techniques.

Emily Bradford, who is studying on the Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Beauty and Spa Therapy, said: “For me, employability week was a really great opportunity to make students much more aware about future jobs and the prospects they bring. It was also fun to get involved in the creative challenges and meet new people online.”

Head of hair, beauty, sport and public services, Sarah Morley said: “Employability week gives students an insight into so many different areas of industry that they can aim towards, often focusing on job roles which they’ve never explored before.

“We were very fortunate to be able to welcome a number of businesses owners and industry specialists to speak to our students online and share their knowledge and best practice and there’s been some great feedback from our students about how much they learnt throughout the week.”

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