The contribution of a woman who has been involved in the hairdressing industry since the age of 14 has been recognised by the Hair Council.
Donna Friend, 40, joint owner of the award-winning Spirit Hair Team salon in Ystrad Mynach, has received a Master Craftsman Diploma in Hairdressing from the Hair Council’s political director and board member for Wales, Shirley Davis-Fox.
The diploma is awarded to state registered hairdressers trained to Level 3 with more than three years’ practical experience since completing training plus over two years’ managerial experience.
“I’m really proud to have been awarded this diploma and it’s nice to get recognition,” said Donna. “I also think it’s important for all the staff to see what they can achieve in this industry. I want them all to aspire to achieve the diploma.”
Donna, who lives in Llanbradach, Caerphilly, first became involved in the industry as a Saturday girl in a local salon. Her passion for hairdressing was quickly spotted and she began attending training at the salon every Tuesday evening, which led to an apprenticeship when she left school at 16.
“I just knew it was what I wanted to do as a career,” said Donna, who went on to achieve NVQ levels 2 and 3, an assessor’s qualification and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.
Keen to go into teaching or training, she joined ISA Training in Bridgend for five years, adding management and internal verifier qualifications to her CV, before opening Spirit Hair Team with business partner Janine O’Callaghan 10 years ago.
The successful salon now employs 20 staff, including 13 qualified hairdressers who are all state registered with the Hair Council.
“My time with ISA Training gave me the experience to open a salon,” she said. “I learned such a lot by visiting other salons and knew how we should do things in our business.
“We insist that all our staff are qualified and they are continuously updating their skills and attending training courses. We have quite a large team and it’s one happy family.”
Mrs Davis-Fox, chairman of Bridgend-based ISA Training, the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales, congratulated Donna on achieving the Master Craftsman Diploma and said it was well deserved.
“Donna is a great role model and mentor to young hairdressers joining the industry and has played a key role in the success of Spirit Hair Team,” she added.