Learn Devon-funded barbering course is a cut above

Posted on: 10 August 2015

City BarbersA group of newly qualified barbers have described how a Learn Devon-funded barbering course has enabled them to come out of long-term unemployment, develop confidence and transform their lives.

The 19-week course is delivered by Hair @ the Academy, a salon at the Exeter Deaf Academy that offers hair and beauty training to disengaged adults and young people. As well as funding the barbering training, Learn Devon directly delivers its ‘Start your own business’ course to the students.

Natalie Hirst, who has recently qualified and started work at City Barbers in Exeter, says: “I’m grateful for this opportunity – the course has given me skills and confidence. I can’t believe how barbering has changed my world – I haven’t had a job for years.”

Abigail Clark, who has also recently qualified and undertook work experience with City Barbers, says: “I started the course a couple of weeks after everybody else but the teachers helped me to catch up. I have loved coming along each week and am looking forward to telling everybody I am a qualified barber.”

This is the third time the course has run, and students who have previously qualified from it are enjoying progressing in their new careers.

Claire Reeves attended the first course and is currently training to be a ladies hairdresser as well as learning to mentor new students. She says: “The barbering course was a completely new thing to me after being out of education for a long time. I’m much more confident now and feel excited about the future.”

Jessica Reeves, who enrolled on the second course, initially found it difficult, but persevered and grew in confidence each week. She says: “I would have been disappointed if I had given up, especially now I’m doing mobile barbering. Thank you for the opportunity to train and become independent.”

Nicole Carpenter also went on the second course and is working towards being a full-time mobile barber. She says: “The course has given me so much confidence. I met some lovely people and advise anyone who wants to get into barbering to do the course – it is fantastic.”

Mary Pugsley, who owns Hair @ the Academy, says: “This initiative helps adults gain the skills and qualifications to be independent and lead successful lives. It is a rewarding experience for us to see their passion to learn and become independent through work.”

We will be funding more barbering courses at Hair @ the Academy in the future. If you are interested in joining please contact us – we will pass your details onto Mary Pugsley.

Pictured top from left to right: City Barbers staff Zahit and Berua, Abigail Clark and Zoe Butt who both recently qualified with Hair @ the Academy, City Barbers co-owner Vicky Jackson and barber Kim.