Running Own Salon Worth The Wait For Alumna Rhona Duncan

08 Mar 2016

The hairdressing programmes taught at Waiariki Institute of Technology’s Whakatane campus are not just about classrooms and lectures.

2016 students will be the first to experience the newly revamped and realigned New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Salon Support) (Level 3).

Besides offering hours of hands-on training in working salons with actual clients, the qualification sees students seek out extracurricular opportunities and take part in exciting competitions.

A hairdressing graduate of the campus, Rhona Duncan, now runs Riverslea Hair Salon and Barbering in Edgecumbe. She still remembers overcoming her fears of returning to tertiary study as a mature student.

“I always wanted to do hairdressing, but I got married and had kids. Later in life, I saw Waiariki’s advert and thought ‘It’s my time, my kids are older’ and I enrolled.

“I really freaked out at first, getting back into study, but our tutors Paulette Brown and Lesley Wikeepa are wonderful. They booted my bum and helped me get into it. Waiariki was a really good atmosphere.”

Initially turning down the opportunity to run her own salon after graduation, Rhona chose to pursue more work experience instead. Having learnt the skills behind barbering and more, she returned and accepted her current challenge.

“I thought ‘Why not? What have I got to lose?’ I’m surprised running my own salon has come around so soon, but with experience behind me, I can enjoy the experience even more.

“I still call Paulette and Lesley up for advice. And my hairdressing friends. Hairdressing is really indepth and technical, so we talk about new trends, things we’re struggling with and tips we’ve learnt. It’s great.”

Admitting that clients often find their hairdressers counselors of sorts, she advises future graduates to work in nearby salons for free as they study.

"Even if you just go there and stand and watch, get as much experience as you can and don’t be afraid to start at the bottom. You will always be constantly learning."

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Page last updated: 02 May 2017