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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

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Fleur Leighton (back row, 2nd from left) and six of her Styling students.

For Styling tutor Fleur Leighton and her Maraenui class a 17-week-long Styling course is about to end. Yet, for the majority of the students, this programme was just the beginning.

Eleven years ago, Fleur herself completed a Diploma in Beauty Therapy at EIT. She went on to work in the industry for many years before dedicating herself to teaching, which she finds extremely rewarding. Fleur explains that the styling programme is a taster course of hair and beauty. The students learn basic hands-on skills by styling themselves and trying out a range of products. But Fleur’s teaching goes beyond beauty. “I incorporate a lot of self-love, building relationships in class, setting goals for the future and empowering the students. I just want to spark the passion for learning and show that learning can be fun. I let my students lead the class and I guess they don’t realise how much they are actually learning.”

For student and mum-of-six Makaia Turipa, who recently moved from Wairoa to Napier, the course was a way to keep herself busy. “I had never touched makeup in my life so I just wanted to give it a go and I loved it.” Makaia will go on to study cookery at EIT in Taradale next year, she is driven to become a chef.

Oshay Matenga-Hura said she had some time on her hands so when she saw advertising for the course on Facebook she registered immediately. “I was always interested in makeup and Fleur taught us many different techniques and skills which was great.” Oshay is keen to study more once her youngest baby is a bit older and plans to one day start her own business.

Darian Leach started the course with her friend Sarah. Darian will have a baby next year so she has chosen to defer follow-up studies. But she developed her passion and laid the foundations for a career in the beauty industry.

Student Sarah Ewart had completed a Food and Beverage qualification at EIT and worked in a range of jobs. Next July, the mum-of-three will start a truck driving programme at EIT so she wanted to bridge the time between now and the start of the truck driving course. “I’m so glad I did it. Fleur was amazing. She made learning so easy and I finally know how to put makeup on correctly and how to look after my skin.” Sarah says that her goal is to push boundaries and buy a nice house.

The next intake for the Styling course (NZ Certificate in Foundation Skills) at the Maraenui Learning Centre starts in February. The course is free. Graduates of this course are well prepared to go on to further studies at EIT.