Lauryn McDermott, from Newtownbutler who studies a Level 3 Hairdressing apprenticeship at the new South West College Erne Campus and is employed with Daniel Anthony’s Salon in Enniskillen, says her experience as an apprenticeship has allowed her to make strides in the hairdressing industry that she couldn’t previously have imagined.

“the apprenticeship route has been perfect for me.

Lauryn says, "I’m twenty-two, so when I was deciding what steps to take in my education, I felt the responsibilities I have in my life meant I needed to be working, not just studying. An apprenticeship meant I could be employed full time while I learned on the job, rather than being in classes all day and then trying to find part-time work around that.

“I’ve been working in Daniel Anthony’s Salon for a year now and it’s made such a difference being in this environment every day. Being hands on working in the salon has helped me come on leaps and bounds in a short period of time.”

Studying an apprenticeship at South West College means Lauryn is working in a real industry salon, but also studying in industry standard facilities in the Erne Campus, where experienced tutors are on hand to help guide her on her journey. The combination of these two experiences means Lauryn would recommend the apprenticeship route at SWC to anyone considering it.

“The tutors at SWC have been so supporting of me. I’ve been to other schools and colleges throughout my education, but I’ve never experienced motivation and support like I have here. I’m dyslexic but the tutors have always offered me help to ensure that doesn’t hindrance me.

Lauryn explained, "They never let me doubt myself or get down on myself, they always push me on to be the best that I can be. For anyone considering an apprenticeship, I’d highly recommend it. In the long run I think it provides you the best foundation possible for a career in hairdressing.”

The nature of modern apprenticeships mean that employers benefit as well as the students. Donal McCarron is the managing director at Daniel Anthony’s Salon in Enniskillen, and he says Lauryn has learned a lot on the job but also brought a lot to the business in return.

Donal says, “real world salons are without a doubt the best place for new hairdressers to learn their trade. In a salon every client is different, so apprentices with us never know what they’re going to face or what their next challenge will be. Customer relationships are crucial, and it’s only here that students can experience that.

“We as a business also benefit a lot from apprenticeship programmes. The best way for us to bring in new hair stylists is by hiring them in as apprenticeships and bringing them through the business, so they learn the way we work and educate themselves in a real industry environment. We love being able to work with South West College, where so many positive hairdressing careers begin. We’re proud to work with the college to help students progress and ultimately it’s too our major benefit, because we end up with talented, experienced employees working with us.”

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SWC Progression Route