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Source: Ara Institute of Canterbury

On Monday November 16, the Ara Hairdressing and Barbering School Hairdressing and Barbering Annual Student Showcase attracted students, families and industry figures, all keen to see images of the artistry of the hairdressing students and the ‘live’ barbering assessments featured during the evening.
The showcase evening was designed to celebrate the achievements of the new talent about launch into to a buzzing, booming and highly creative industry. Paul Skidmore, Senior Barbering Tutor, says “Having industry figures in means that I can also talk to the barbers about their salons and shops and what they’re seeing in the ways of new styles and trends.”
It was also the ideal way for Ara tutors to see how well their ‘Level 4 Emerging Stylist’ hairdressers and barbers embrace real-world challenges.
Paul says “The reason we’re trying this new kind of ‘live cutting show’-style event is barbers will always do the best work under pressure. So this is an opportunity for me to see how they work under the pump, to see how they work while other people talk to them and potentially distracting them, so they’re forced to attend to more than one thing at a time. In a professional situation, it’s not just going to be just plain sailing, concentrating.”
Melike Gungor is one of this new generation of barbers, bringing her skills, passion and knowledge to the industry for the first time.
“As an artist, I like the creativity of barbering, it’s artistry; and it lets me combine creativity with a skill that I can use in an industry; that’s going to help me live a healthy, stable life but also get me waking up excited to go to work every day” she says. “Three months ago I got a job at ‘My Dad’s Barbershop’ and it’s so funny because when you talk to someone who isn’t familiar with it – which is a lot of people – they’re like, “oh, that’s really awesome. you got a job with your family! I’m just started to get my own regular roster of clients, which is awesome. Even so, I’ll still be able to do my other art on the side!”
Hairdressing Tutor Anji Glentworth appreciates both the creativity of barbering but she also knows just how busy these newly-minted artisans might become. “These are in-demand barbering students! Barbering is a hot topic right now; around every corner, there used to be a dairy and now there’s a barber shop. And we still need more! Why the demand? Men want a full service now; they want to look good, with trim and facials and the full personal grooming experience – just like women do. And just like a women with her hairdresser, a barber knows everything about the client.”
Preparing his students for the barbers’ important community role in emotional connection and well-being outreach among men is something that Paul takes very seriously, making sure that his learners leave his care ready to engage genuinely, courteously and courageously with their clients.
While many of the students already have jobs, many are planning to work for others for a while, then acquire their own business. Anji says “A lot of these students would eventually like to have their own place, so that they can bring something back into their community.”
This is certainly on the radar for Robbie Moana, who says “When I finish, I’d like to work for an employer for a while, so that I can kind of just get a feel for the industry, but later, it’s definitely my plan to have my own business… I have a really big idea that’s gonna take over the world!”
Paul summed up the evening with the heart-felt comment “This really was the perfect opportunity for industry to see what we do, see the level of work that’s achieved.”