Students on the Indian Head Massage course at Furness College

Hair stylists and beauty therapists upskill in lockdown

Stylists and therapists from the hair and beauty industry across Barrow, Dalton and Ulverston have been putting their time in furlough to good use by learning a new skill in lockdown.

While their salons are shut, the eight students have been mastering the art of Indian Head Massage at Furness College’s Channelside campus.

The six-day course is fully funded by The Edge meaning the students, who are apprentices or self-employed, can train for free in the college’s state-of-the-art salon.

Tutor Michelle Coward said the hair and beauty industry had been one of the hardest hit by the global pandemic.

“For a sector full of hard-working self-starters this has left them with an unusual amount of free time, rising frustration and higher anxiety levels about the future. By accessing this training, we hope people will return to work in December refreshed and with an enhanced skill level that they can use to diversify their businesses.”

The students, who range in ages from 16-54, have been learning the techniques of Indian Head Massage including anatomy and physiology, techniques, client consultation and health, safety and hygiene.

Beauty therapist Rhiannon Lewis, who co-owns Urban Retreat hair and beauty in Ulverston, said it had upped her motivation as well as being a change of scenery from the salon and a chance to share experiences and ideas while Jade Herman, a hairdresser from The Salon in Ulverston, said being in a classroom with other people in the same situation had been a big boost.

“I am absolutely loving this course, the tutor has made us feel really comfortable even if we didn’t feel confident in the beginning,” said Jade. “It’s keeping my brain active because I’m used to being busy at work and this has given me a bit of direction and something else I can offer to my clients.”

Emily Burrows, of The Bank hair and beauty in Dalton, studied an electrical engineering apprenticeship at Furness College before pursuing her dream career as a beauty therapist.

“I was looking for something to do in lockdown and I saw this course on Facebook. I just like making people feel better about themselves, meeting clients and doing something for myself. This course has been really good and alongside learning a new skill I have made new friends.”

Caren Campbell, 54, is a beauty therapist at The Wellness Centre in Duke Street, which focuses on therapy for mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

“This course has been a breath of fresh air in lockdown,” she said. “I qualified in beauty here 17 years ago but you are never too old to learn so it is really refreshing to come back. We’ve been smiling and laughing each day because we’ve all been through a similar experience and you can tell our tutor is really dedicated to her job.”

Furness College hair and beauty apprentices Summer Miller, Alicia Logan, Shauna Oldcorn, and Elizabeth James are also on the Indian Head Massage course.

Elizabeth, who works at Review in Barrow and is a Level 3 hairdressing apprentice, said: “I love this treatment because it relaxes you as well as the person. I will be qualifying in March and this will give me another element to what I can offer for when I go self-employed.”

Luci Ord, Head of Business Development, said the college was delighted to be able to offer people the opportunity to learn a new skill at a time when they are not able to work.

“The course is funded through The Edge, which is a partnership backed by the European Social Fund Project to support the training needs of people across Cumbria. This cohort have been learning key skills that bring an opportunity to offer new treatments to their clients and will, in time, help their business to grow.”

For more information on short courses at Furness College, call 01229 825017 or email businesssupport@furness.ac.uk

Photo caption: Salon staff are learning Indian Head Massage at Furness College during lockdown

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