Fri 27 Feb 2015

Sharing the secrets of success

WITT tutors Fiona Smith and Kirsty Ryan were jointly named the best hairdressing and beauty tutors in the country last November.

At the prestigious 2014 Kitomba NZARH Business Awards in Wellington, the dynamic duo shared, the top honour in the Hair Industry Training Organisation   (HITO) Tutor of the Year Award.

So impressed were the organisers with  Fiona and Kirsty’s innovative teaching methods and ability to motivate their students, that they were recently invited back  by the HITO chief executive to share the secrets of their success with the rest of country’s tutors at  a national ‘’off-job’’ training seminar earlier this month.

“It’s a time when all of the hairdressing tutors from the tertiary institutions around the country get together just before the start of the academic year,’’ said Fiona.

“We were asked to give an overview of our journey to becoming Tutors of the Year. ‘’

Kirsty said it was great to be asked. “It was nice to be recognised.”

Fiona agrees. “It was a bit daunting, maybe, what with the pressure of time. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, just a few weeks, to do  what we wanted to, but we got there.’’

Kirsty said the two-hour slot they were given in the programme meant they needed to be prepared.  “It wasn’t too bad though, as we did a joint presentation. We were also asked to talk about literacy and numeracy and how to pick up on clues that were important to signal a student may be having problems.

“As well, there were lots of questions from the other tutors though, ranging from how we felt when we won, through to the legacy you get from industry and how we handled students. It was a bit humbling to be honest.’’

Fiona said they shared a lot of their ideas with the conference. “We gave them some of the resources we’d made up and talked about our ideas.’’

Both agreed the feedback they got from the tutors was encouraging.

“It was really good, awesome.’’

Both say the reaction from their colleagues and the students on their return was overwhelming.

“One student said to me they were so glad we’d both won it because they didn’t want one of us to be disappointed,’’ said Fiona.

The two work part-time at WITT and spend much of the rest of their time as hairdressers. Fiona works at Headquarters Design Space, while Kirsty owns her own business, Kamitsu Design.