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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

16 mins ago

Courtney and Nganeko are showing off their hairdressing skills.

Courtney Harvey (Ngāti Tama, Te Ati Haunui-a-Paparangi) and Nganeko Keelan (Ngāti Porou) both completed their level 4 Certificate in Hairdressing (Emerging Stylist) at EIT last year.

Their solid skills, exemplary attitude and EIT’s industry networks helped them transition from student life straight into a job.

Originally from Raetihi, Courtney had moved 13 times before her family settled in Tutira. After finishing Napier Girls’ High School, Courtney knew that she wanted to follow one of her main interests, farming or hairdressing. “I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I always loved spending time on the farm and I still do. But a trade is something I can carry with me anywhere. I have a cousin who is a hairdresser and I always looked up to her. It was hundred percent the right choice.”

Nganeko had similar reasons to go for a stylist career. Ever since she was little, she had a flare for creativity and liked to play around with hair. Nganeko grew up in Tolaga Bay and moved away to study in Hawke’s Bay. “Leaving home wasn’t hard for me. I wanted to be independent and live my own life. Fortunately, my family was really supportive and I really enjoyed studying.”

Both women say that their tutors made a big difference; they pushed and inspired them, and their teaching style resonated with them. They got plenty of opportunities to gain work experience during their placements and in EIT’s professional Salon Elite. Courtney and Nganeko also received a Māori and Pasifika Trades Training Scholarship which covered their study fees and supported them throughout their studies.

Nganeko now works at Hair Creations in Gisborne and is preparing for a move to Wellington. “It’s such a creative and quirky city. Working there will help me to get more experience and explore different and unconventional styles.” Nganeko likes to keep up with trends, try out different styles and change her hair, be it bleach blonde, white silver, or pink.

Courtney is currently completing her apprenticeship at Di’s Hair and Wig Specialist. It feels like a jackpot win for her. “The team is great. As many of our clients are cancer patients, our work goes beyond hairdressing. It’s about providing a wraparound wellbeing service. I meet people from all walks of life. I can listen to them, help them to look and feel better, and put a smile on their faces. As the only hairpiece specialist in the region, we are also working with male clients which is interesting too. It’s a very personal place,“ says Courtney.”

Nganeko says, ”The beauty of my job is to make people feel good. If you change people’s hair and improve the appearance you can make a positive impact on their lives.”