Jade Gillen from Dungannon embarked on her journey to learn the creative trade of Barbering at South West College (SWC), where she successfully mastered her skill and progressed into self-employment as a Barber in a high-end Barbershop.
Jade (21) first started to pursue Barbering at the age of 17. She said: “At the beginning, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, I endeavoured to complete my A levels, but I knew this wasn’t the path for me, so I decided to look into vocational courses at the South West College.”
Seeking to find a qualification that would train her to do a job and lead to a purposeful career, Jade selected a full-time Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Barbering at the SWC Dungannon campus. The course offered a more practical approach incorporating college study and work placement, alongside the opportunity to become a fully qualified barber within one year.
Upon embarking on the course, Jade struggled with her confidence in Barbering and hailed SWC and her peers for their support as they helped boost her confidence, helping foster self-belief.
Jade said: “From the minute I stepped into the College, I knew this was the place for me. They made me feel so welcome, and it was the first time I was able to feel like an adult during my education. The College gives you a lot more freedom in comparison to school life which best suited me. Throughout my barbering course, I got a lot of support, not only from my tutors but from my peers as well. They managed to encourage me when I thought I wasn’t good enough; they stayed behind in their own time to help me perfect my skills to make me the best I could be. I found even the simplest skills difficult such as holding scissors properly, but with the tutor’s perseverance, hard work and dedication, I began to believe in myself.”
Jades confidence grew alongside her occupational competence, and she successfully completed her barbering course, equipped with the skills and knowledge required to successfully work within the flourishing barbering industry, where she quickly entered self-employment. She says, “I am now qualified three years, and I work full time as a self-employed barber renting a chair in “The Man Shack” salon in Lisburn, a bustling high-end establishment.” Jade highly recommends barbering as a career and enjoys the independence alongside the better work-life balance that self-employment brings.
Tanya Purvis, Deputy Head of School for Tourism, Hospitality, Hair and Beauty at South West College, said: “The School of Tourism, Hospitality, Hair and Beauty aspires to guide and support all our students in developing their professional and technical skills and in achieving their potential within their chosen career path. There is nothing more rewarding for our teaching teams to see our students develop into confident, industry-ready practitioners. Each student’s journey is unique and tailored towards their career aspirations.
The School provides opportunities in a wide range of courses in the area of Hair, Barbering, Beauty Therapy, Complementary Therapies and Sports Massage. Each discipline has a specific entry and exit point. We constantly review our curriculum to ensure that we stay in line with new industry trends. In 2021 we are validating a Foundation Degree in Hair and Beauty Management (with Specialisms) with the Open University. This programme has two specialist pathways in Beauty Therapy (non-aesthetic therapies) and Hairdressing and is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. This will ensure that you will have a progression pathway to Higher Education at the College and to develop advanced practical skills which are in high demand by employers.
We look forward to welcoming you to the School of Tourism, Hospitality, Hair and Beauty, where you will be guided on your journey to fulfilling your potential…. Dream, Believe and Achieve!”
For further information and to apply, please visit www.swc.ac.uk.