Since opening their doors over twenty years ago, Harlow College’s inhouse beauty department has welcomed in a variety of clients and handed out invaluable experience to all students that learn here.Offering beauty and hair treatments in a ‘real life’ situation gives the students a great opportunity to gain valuable experience that they will use in their career as well as give a luxury treatment at an affordable price. The salon takes hairdressing, beauty and barbering client in

Offering beauty and hair treatments in a ‘real life’ situation gives the students a great opportunity to gain valuable experience that they will use in their career as well as give a luxury treatment at an affordable price. The salon takes hairdressing, beauty and barbering client in it’s realistic working environment.

The staff are always on hand with the students to really assist the student in giving the best possible service.

A high majority of the learners do go onto progress into course related employment. Previous students are now working in spas, on cruise ships, working freelance, or running their own salons.

Beauty treatments include your usual array of services such as the usual manicure and pedicure and waxing to the higher end treatments such as hot stone massage- using heated stones to warm and relax the muscles to prescription facials, which is where you have a facial specifically adapted to your skin type. As for the hair salon, services include everything to a cut and blow dry to a luxury conditioning treatment with prices starting from just £1.

Challenges faced by the department can including finding enough clients to cover the learner assessments. The students do not often come across with difficult clients however it often is an example of what they may face in the industry- so they are told to use the experience to their own advantage. Other challenges can include maintaining a budget and always ensuring stock is in to allow the salon services to take place.

Head of department Helen Harmer, who has worked at the salon for 17 years after training at as a beauty therapist between 1994 and 1996 here at Harlow College, says “I think the experience that our learners receive whilst they are at college is a real taster for what they can expect in industry. The learners feel daunted at first, once they start to build their confidence they appreciate the experience. “

The Students are always encouraged to treat college as they would their place of work. Helen still maintains contact with the learners that are in industry and said “they admit that it’s not until they’ve left that they realise or appreciate what they learnt whilst they were with us!”

I also spoke to Level 3 beauty student Rose Marnell who thinks the social stigma attached to beauty courses are “stupid”.

“It’s a trade. Something you’re always going to need. You’re always going to be learning new things.”

She also told me how well prepared she was for a job in the industry. “I feel really capable. If the tutors were not they, you wouldn’t get half as much from the course.”