Fri 28 May 2021

Salon-based learning in South Taranaki

Many WITT students are in awe when they realise their hairdressing training will take place in a real-life salon.

That’s one of the perks for learners studying the New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Level 3) at WITT’s Ātaahua salon in Hāwera.

Hairdressing tutor Livi Kerr said some students are surprised when they turn up for the first time.

“They look at it and they’re like ‘oh, it’s a real salon,’” she said.

“The space was originally a salon, instead of being in a big high rise building or a standard classroom. We have quite a few theory units but so much of the programme is focussed on having hands on tools.”

There is also plenty of variety in the course. Students get the opportunity to learn blow waves, treatments, braids, hair ups, sets and colour.

The programme is quite new to South Taranaki, starting in July last year. Livi said there is plenty of support from the community.

“The feedback from clients has been that it’s such a wonderful opportunity for students to study locally.”

The local salons are also supportive.

“Without them we can’t actually do it. The students have to do 80 hours of salon experience. They volunteer to do that,” Livi said.

They help out with all aspects of hairdressing from sweeping and cleaning into shampooing and blow drying within a few months.

Livi said students doing the course are expected to be challenged and pushed outside their comfort zone.

“As a person, I’m not someone who goes ‘yeah, that’s near enough, that’s good enough,’ I want you to be able to do it really well, so I will keep going and training and giving you extras. But you’ll have heaps of fun with the people you’ll be working with.”

She said the is a lot of excitement and fun in the classroom, and part of the course includes being able to have a conversation.

“That’s what we cover, how to talk to someone. It’s a big part of it.”

Livi has over 10 years’ experience in the industry and worked between the North and South Islands as well as Australia.  Her experience is in editorial, weddings, apprentice training, as well as a senior stylist.

“Teaching was the best next move for me,” she said.  “And I enjoy working alongside learners the salon.”