An Exeter-based hair salon has been granted specialist funding to help people who are struggling to get a foothold in the world of work.
Hair@The Academy provides training to young people who would otherwise be at a disadvantage, including those struggling in education and people with additional learning needs.
Through the salon, students gain practical skills and qualifications in hairdressing, barbering and customer service skills.
The salon is now launching an additional training scheme after securing a European grant which will give 20 people aged 16 and upwards the chance to train as barbers.
However, the clock is ticking as spaces are filling up, and applications need to be in by Monday, December 14.
Places are available to anybody in Devon who is unemployed, on a low income, wanting to retrain, or in any circumstances which may otherwise put them at some form of disadvantage.
The salon is based in Kimberley Road and so is easily accessible by public transport, and the course will take place on Fridays during evening or day time sessions.
Over the course of 19 weeks, successful applicants will be supported to gain a Level 2 qualification in Barbering. They will also receive a barbering kit to help them train, and they will be work-ready upon the successful completion of their course.
Alongside their barbering qualification, applicants will also have the opportunity to gain a Level 1 qualification in Mental Health Awareness.
The salon will be one of only three centres in the entire country to be offering this mental health awareness training which will be awarded by the Vocational Training Charitable Trust.
Hair@theAcademy was set up by Mary Pugsley MBE, in 2004 from a small room with just three back-wash basins at Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.
It had always been Mary’s dream to support young adults with complex needs – including those who are vulnerably housed – into learning a new trade.
But following the relocation of the Deaf Academy to Exmouth earlier this year, the salon found a new home in St Leonard’s after the building was purchased by local charity the Incorporation of Weavers Fullers and Shearmen.
Mary has a particular interest in supporting mental health and said that the qualification is even more important now as the pandemic has “exacerbated” mental health issues for many people.
The mental health awareness training won’t make the trainees mental health professionals, but it will teach them some ways to look after their own mental health and those of their colleagues and clients. Mary said: “It’s about identifying and supporting mental health.”
Like the salon’s other students, trainees will also have access to Hair@The Academy’s counsellor, “We’re unique in that”, said Mary.
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To apply for an interview, call the salon manager Claire on 07818022487. Further information about Hair@The Academy can also be found on their website here, and they can also be found on Facebook.