The U-Skills Barbering programme, recently launched at UCOL | Te Pūkenga Whanganui, is already gaining significant traction among high school ākonga (learners).
The fully funded U-Skills programme offers ākonga in Years 11 to 13 the opportunity to explore barbering and other trades as a potential career choice.
Following the great feedback received at UCOL's Manawatū and Wairarapa campuses in 2022, the Whanganui course was introduced this year to meet demand, says Jacqui Broughton, UCOL Senior Lecturer in Barbering.
"Local high schools have shown a lot of interest in our barbering courses, and the response from students has been very positive so far. They are excited about exploring potential career options while still studying at school," Broughton explained.
The U-Skills programme offers students one day a week learning at UCOL, providing them with practical hands-on training and the theory they'll need for pursuing a career in barbering.
"Our aim is to provide students with authentic industry experience, allowing them to get first-hand experience in a fully-equipped salon environment. Hopefully, it ignites their passion for barbering!"
The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including basic cutting techniques, the history of barbering, and trichology (knowledge of hair and skin).
"U-Skills ākonga even have the opportunity to practice their skills in real life. They start by learning on cutting strips and mannequins before progressing to live models. If they choose to continue with the full-time Level 4 Barbering Certificate, they will also gain real-life work experience in a barbershop," added Broughton.
The programme includes three unit standards, enabling ākonga to earn NCEA credits while gaining practical experience.
"Two out of three of the NCEA assignments they complete can also be put towards their Level 4 Certificate, if they decide to pursue it," Broughton explained.
High school ākonga interested in applying for this programme or exploring other U-Skills programmes, are encouraged to speak to their careers advisor at school. The next intake for U-Skills is scheduled between February and September 2024.