Purpose-built salon at SJPP a dream of cosmetology students
AN ONSITE SALON at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) has been identified by students as being critical to the development of future cohorts in the Cosmetology Division.
The students shared this recently with the Barbados Government Information Service, after having showcased a variety of skills acquired in their two-year programme during Open Day at the Wildey institution.
The budding nail technicians, hair stylists, facial and waxing experts see themselves as potential entrepreneurs managing their own salons or gainfully employed by others in spas or salons. They also expressed the belief that they could benefit more if given the opportunity to realise their dreams as a result of the exposure. But having designed a room to the required standards of a salon, these forward-looking students, see the potential for a purpose built salon at the SJPP.
The final year students said it would augur well for the institution as it could create employment for alumni, who could rent the salon during periods of low demand for training, such as weekends and holidays. And, they see it as another entrepreneurial avenue to develop their customer base, while earning an income.
For cosmetology design instructor, Myrna Sealy-Hinkson, the students’ vision is appealing. While pointing out that some countries had already moved away from the Monday to Friday teaching alone, she said the “not-so-distant future” for Barbados could be similarly marked by there being a salon, opened on Saturdays, for the purpose of teaching. “That is a possibility, but it is more up to administration. So, as long as it is a mandate and it happens, the students would welcome it,” Sealy-Hinkson said, while acknowledging that there was a successful Alumni Give Back initiative at the institution that underpinned the cosmetology programme.
She explained: “This is a form of give back where former students come and deliver lectures to assist students to fulfil their course requirements. It is based more on charity, where a past student with salon experience and knowledge of the industry and trends says, ‘I have come back to assist’ and we welcome them. Some help guide students in how to colour or cut hair…It is all for a good cause.”
At left, design instructor Myrna Sealy-Hinkson receiving a manicure from one of the students. (GP)
Asked whether the students’ idea could be a collaborative effort with the private sector, along the same lines as the Purple Kisses Salon, at Springer Memorial School, the design instructor remarked that there was a need to be in partnerships with others. She stated: “I think we need to connect more with the private sector for they have always embraced our graduates and played a pivotal role in the knowledge and skills imparted to students. The SJPP has an active internship programme which provides students with six-week attachments to a salon or an established individual. They are exposed to the rudiments of what it is to work in the industry and so they are given exposure as a result of those partnerships with the private sector.”
One student who was most vocal about a SJPP salon was Nakita Harewood. Having enjoyed her attachment, Nakita said her confidence was boosted to the point where she participated in a hairstyle show and was grateful for that experience. But, the final year student expressed uncertainty about finding a job upon graduation.
Recognising that she may have to continue “working on friends’ hair at home”, she warmed to the idea of a SJPP salon, not only because it would be close to her home, but because of the continuous training it would provide. “Honestly, I think on Saturday and Sundays, if students are not doing anything, the SJPP could consider opening its doors to allow them to practise their craft and to make money because they are many of us who are keen and who would do with more [instruction],” said Nakita, a “shining light” in the class.
Adding that many in the programme thought the two years were too short, she declared: “The time just flew and there are still things we need to learn on the job. In addition, it would afford all of us, including experienced salon owners, an opportunity for continuous training and development as trends change.”
Nakita’s thoughts and those mirrored by her design instructor were later shared with principal of the SJPP, Hector Belle, who revealed that the SJPP had always considered the idea of a salon. “That is one of the proposed projects management would be encouraged to endorse. I could see students renting a station, becoming entrepreneurs and providing some means of support, while at the same time, the polytechnic would remain a training hub,” he said.
Belle further noted that the institution was seeking to expand the Cosmetology Division and have it housed at the Classroom Village, where the Agricultural Division is currently located, west of the Caribbean Development Bank.
Adding that over the past two years efforts were on to source equipment for the expansion, Belle said while an onsite salon could be a substantial undertaking, he understood the student’s call. He said: “I acknowledge the need for a specially designed salon on campus…We will work to make sure such a dream comes to fruition.”