Rachelle Mitchell, 15 and Tanika McKenna, 15 of Evans Head trying their hand at hairdressing as a future career. Jay Cronan
Rachelle Mitchell, 15 and Tanika McKenna, 15 of Evans Head trying their hand at hairdressing as a future career. Jay Cronan

Dyeing to go to school

BY the end of the year, Evans River K-12 School will have a number of teenagers ready to take on hairdressing apprenticeships in the region following the introduction of a hairdressing course this year.

Year 10 students Tanika McKenna and Rachelle Mitchell are two of those students from Years 9, 10 and 11 hoping to make a career out of their newly developing skills.

"It'll be good to have on my resume," said Ms Mitchell.

"I like doing all the practical work - washing and drying hair, styling it and putting in colours.

"I was interested because my sister is doing a hairdressing apprenticeship and I think I want to be a hairdresser so this will help me to become one," said Ms McKenna.

Craig Gillespie, one of the teachers at the school, initiated the idea of a trade course for female students.

"There was a metals and engineering class for boys at the school for a number of years and we never had anything for the girls," he said.

"Many couldn't get into TAFE because of their age.

"We're isolated here in Evans Head as our kids don't have the funding or infrastructure to get to TAFE, so TAFE has to come to us."

The course is run in partnership with Wollongbar TAFE. Students attend their class at school for 4 1/2 hours each week for 25 weeks. At the end of the school year, students will qualify for a Certificate II in Hairdressing which will help them gain a hairdressing apprenticeship if they choose that path.

Hairdressing teacher Brenda Mason said the 15 places on the course were filled quickly.

After just four weeks she can see a real change in the students.

"We've had a fantastic time. It's really great for self-esteem building as well and it's such a great opportunity for them to complete a qualification like this while still at school," she said.

"It's just so great for their self-esteem and confidence.

"Not all students are academic people and so it's great for a trade like this to be part of the school program which gets the best out of the students."



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