While Cornwall is well known for being an area of natural beauty, less people might be aware of the county’s hair and beauty credentials.
But that is set to change as the awarding organisation City & Guilds, who use experts from industry as moderators to develop and steer its wide range of qualifications, has three Cornish-based tutors as part of the 12-strong national team that look after the advanced technical hairdressing diplomas.
The Cornish contingent, who all work at Cornwall College, have been working with the qualification provider to develop the new technical specifications that are being brought out this year.
Curriculum lead for Hair and Beauty at The Cornwall College Group, Margaret Butfield, is the national principal moderator, Caroline Reed, hairdressing lecturer at St Austell, is the lead moderator and Traci French, team lead for hair at Cornwall College Camborne, is a moderator.
“It’s quite unusual to have so many moderators from one College,” Margaret explained.
“You have to have the right qualifications and background as they don’t just take anyone on to do this and you also have to be teaching and be close to learners.”
The College has been piloting the advanced technical qualification this year and will be moving over to a solely technical platform.
The advantage for learners as they are on performance table for Level 2 they get performance points and at the advanced level they get UCAS point, according to Margaret who is also the head of Cornwall College Saltash.
“This is very important for those who want to progress further into industry or into management and its qualifications that have been developed from the national standards that employers have designed and require, which is why we are changing over so quickly,” she explained.
The shift in making students even more employable makes staff recruitment a key priority, according to Margaret.
“We never ever take anyone on to teach unless they have a five years minimum industry experience,” she said.
“We particularly prefer people that have either owned or worked in a salon, and that’s not saying freelancers aren’t as good, but it’s having that experience of working in a team developing a team and business ethos and financial background.”
Margaret is one of only 5% in the country in hair and beauty that has a degree, hers being in education and training.
“The research and knowledge I gained from the degree enabled me to develop vocational programmes of study that support the skills the students need to develop in order to become employable and respond to our employer needs”.
“At Cornwall College, we offer at least an extra 100 hours more hands-on practical skill development hours than other colleges and providers. We also have around 60 employers that we work with and have the biggest market share when it comes to apprenticeships.”
Cornwall College also boasts a moderator of the advanced beauty diploma Level 3, Fran Clapham who is team lead for beauty at Cornwall College, St Austell.
This level of experience and expertise combined with the fact apprentices work alongside advanced technical students, makes for a great learning experience “and the results speak for themselves”, Margaret adds.
“Our learners go on to incredibly successful careers of their own, with no barriers in their way, especially when you consider we have former students working on programmes like The Voice and with stars like Jessie J.”
For more information about hair and beauty course at The Cornwall College Group, please visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.