15 Feb 2016
Sometimes, when you’re not sure what to do with your life, just change the scenery. That’s what Alexandra Willard did and it worked.
Alexandra had spent two years working in a day spa then packed her bags and headed overseas. When she returned to New Zealand, she knew without a doubt that working in the beauty and spa therapy industry was still what she wanted to do with her life.
“I went traveling because I was not 100% sure of what I wanted to do. Student loans are expensive so I wanted to be sure. So I travelled for five years and when I came back I thought, ‘yup, I definitely still want to do this’. I’ve known since I was 14 that I wanted to do this.
“Growing up, I always did my friends’ makeup for special occasions, and always enjoyed going to beauty therapists, talking to them, trying their treatments – I’ve tried every treatment I could and love getting treatments. They all love their job. Then, when I was traveling, every country I went to I always tried their specialty treatments.”
Alexandra completed the one-year Certificate in Beautician Services at the end of 2015 and this year will complete the Diploma in Beauty Therapy. She’s loved her studies and tutors, enjoyed the camaraderie in the classroom, and learned more than she expected.
“Until I started this course, I didn’t realise how many areas you can go into, how many opportunities there are for your career. It’s not all about making people look pretty for a photo shoot. There are a lot more skills needed than just working in a day spa and we had lots of opportunities to get involved in events if we wanted to, which our tutors would arrange. I worked at a wedding expo, fashion shows, and did makeovers on the youth for the Cancer Society.”
She says a couple of her classmates want to work in funeral homes; working with burn victims in hospitals is another avenue for graduates.
“This is one of the best programmes in New Zealand because it’s internationally recognised. The tutors are always very open. They’re helpful and supportive. One day a week we’re on campus, the rest of the time in the salon. We don’t just get taught the skills we need but also the professional side of it. I think people do need experience but we are given all the business tools to know what to do when we finish. Even the bookwork is very interesting.
“I’ve had so much fun I almost don’t even want to work again. I thought it would be really stressful. We do the bookwork but we also get treatments done on ourselves so we get to see what they’re like. It’s a great way to learn. Every day is different. It’s been really enjoyable.”
Alexandra is torn between opening her own spa or following up on some new connections in the TV and film industry in Australia following her graduation from Waiariki.
“I’d really like to do makeup and special effects makeup. Also work in fashion shows and TV, the fast-paced, every-day stuff. This might be weird, but I also really love waxing.”
For more information
Page last updated: 02 May 2017