A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a hairdresser in New York awaits a Bargoed apprentice later this month.
Kelly Bodenham, 20, who works for Spirit Hair Team, Ystrad Mynach, is one of four learners selected by ISA Training, the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales, to spend five days in the Big Apple from May 31.
ISA Training, based in Pencoed, Bridgend, is funding the visit by the apprentices and two members of staff as part of the company’s Oyster Project, which is based on the saying ‘The world is your oyster’.
The project aims to enhance the learning experience of apprentices, increase their confidence and broaden their career horizons.
Kelly, a foundation apprentice, described it as “a great opportunity” and can’t wait to return the New York, which she last visited when she was 10
“Here at Spirit Hair Team the owners encourage us to try as many things away from the salon, such as competitions and exchange trips, as we can,” said Kelly. “I apply for everything and I have been very lucky to get this place to New York.
“It’s so exciting because we are going to tour a leading hair product manufacturer, which is going to be really interesting and we are going to be working in a salon. It will be great to see the different ways of working.”
She said she became interested in hair from about the age of five and jumped at the chance to become an apprentice with the Spirit Hair Team when she left school. She says the foundation apprenticeship has made her much more confident and outgoing.
“I was very shy when I was younger and certainly wouldn’t do anything like apply to go to New York,” she explained. “Working for Spirit has brought me out of myself and I now enjoy meeting people and love my job.”
They will be accompanied by internal quality assessor Simone Hawkin and training consultant Alison Dickins from ISA Training. The staff will support the learners and capture their learning experiences to contribute to the achievement of their apprenticeship programme.
“We now live in a global age and we need to provide exciting learning opportunities for our work based learners,” said Berni Tyler, ISA Training’s managing director. “We have much to learn from other countries and they can also learn from us.
“We want to enhance the learning experience and inspire our learners to realise that hairdressing and beauty therapy are professions that can grant them a passport to travel the world.”
During their time in New York, the learners will visit salons and explore the city’s hair sector to experience what it’s like to be a hairdresser in the United States.
“ISA’s Oyster Project is our unique selling point and we are going to invest in it to offer opportunities for up to 80 learners a year,” said Mrs Tyler.
The company has already arranged visits for learners to experience the hair industry in Spain, Cyprus, Poland and Turkey. Next up is a two week work placement project in Spain in September, which is receiving funding support from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme for education, training, youth and sport.
The Erasmus+ programme offers exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.
ISA Training welcomed learners from Poland, Spain and Turkey in April as part of an exchange programme. Some of them competed at Salon Cymru, a dynamic annual hair and beauty event organised by ISA Training at the Swalec Stadium, Cardiff.
Future Oyster Project visits, which are in the early stages of planning are, Australia and China.