Fifteen hair and beauty apprentices from across South Wales and Gloucestershire are preparing for a work experience opportunity of a lifetime.
The apprentices will fly out to Cyprus on April 9 where they will divide their 16-day visit between working in Cypriot salons and attending cutting, hair up and colouring workshops at The Hair and Beauty Academy in Paphos.
To prepare them for the experience they have been taking Greek lessons to help them converse with their hosts.
It’s the most ambitious work experience placement to date arranged by award-winning ISA Training, based in Bridgend, who are the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales.
The visit is being arranged as part of the company’s Oyster Project, which is based on the saying ‘The world is your oyster’. The project aims to enhance the learning experience of apprentices, increase their confidence and broaden their career horizons.
Funding support is being provided by Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport, which offers exciting opportunities for UK leaners to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.
ISA Training, which has arranged previous visits to Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Turkey and New York, is now seeking funding support for future trips to Spain, London and Finland. Last year, the company welcomed learners from Poland, Spain and Turkey as part of an exchange programme.
“This is the biggest work experience project we have organised to date,” said Clare Jeffries, head of apprenticeships at ISA Training.
“We were successful at bidding for funding from Erasmus Plus to take 15 learners and two members of staff to Paphos for 16 days.
“The learners will really be able to immerse themselves in the Cypriot way of hairdressing and training and, on returning to their salons, will be able to impart what they have learnt to their colleagues.”
As well as working and learning, the apprentices will also enjoy cultural trips including a visit to the Tombs of the Kings.
The apprentices selected for the Cyprus visit are Harriet Young from Jazz, Magor, Abbie May from Friends, Newport, Bethan Williams from Lazarou, Churchill Way, Cardiff, Sian Charlton from YUME, Cardiff, Kirsty Lynn from Cutting Edge, Cardiff; Tiegan John and Joel Perrington from Ocean Hair, Llanishen, Danielle Bernard from Allen Sadler, Penarth, Hannah Voisey from Cracked Actors, Caerphilly, Luca Sparey from Spirit Hair Team, Ystrad Mynach, Chloe Woodland from Hairstop, Llantrisant, Zoe Keat from Nicholas White Hairdressing, Cheltenham, Georgia Davenport from Shades, Laleston, Chelsea Williams from Emily Elizabeth, Tonypandy and Harley Lewis from Ocean Hair, Saundersfoot.
They will be accompanied by ISA Training staff Cheryl Pearcey and Lisa Lee.
Harriet Young, 23, who works with her mum at Jazz salon in Magor, is working towards an Apprenticeship in hairdressing and is also a make-up artist.
“I do a lot of courses with ISA Training and I couldn’t believe it when I was selected for the visit to Cyprus.
“I am the senior stylist in the salon but I always strive to be the best that I can be. I hope that the work experience opportunity in Cyprus will give me advanced hairdressing training and I can learn new techniques.
“I would like, one day, to work for a big brand doing hairdressing and make-up for fashion shoots and styling for magazines.”
Harley Lewis, 19, from Ocean Hair, Saundersfoot, who is working towards an Apprenticeship in hairdressing, is delighted to have been selected for the Cyprus experience after missing out on the visit to New York.
“I am looking forward to picking up new skills and learning different ways of cutting and colouring hair,” she said. “I have been asked to share my experience with the Hair Academy when I return.
“When I have achieved my apprenticeship I would like to travel and possibly work in Australia or on a cruise liner before coming back to open a salon with friends.”
For Kirsty Lynn, 23, from Cutting Edge salon in Cardiff, who lives in Barry and is working towards an Apprenticeship in hairdressing, it will be her second foreign visit with ISA Training, having travelled to Poland last year.
“It’s another exciting opportunity to be going to Cyprus,” she said. “The Poland trip was really good but the visit to Cyprus is going to be a lot more hands-on and I'm looking forward to it.
“The hair-up techniques in Poland were quite different to what we do and it will be interesting to see how they do things in Cyprus.”