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Meet your lecturer: Stuart Donovan, Barbering

Stuart is one of many Weston College students who have progressed to become lecturers.

Since completing his College course, he has gained a wealth of experience in the barbering industry and is now teaching the next generation of young people the skills he learned here.

“I started my career as a Barber in 1999 and, since then, I’ve had a passion for cutting hair,” said Stuart.

“Working in the hair industry was something that I’d always considered, and I had an opportunity through a government employment scheme. As soon as I started learning, I made contacts with employers and focused on gaining vital work experience.

“I studied the Level 2 Hairdressing apprenticeship with Weston College, and remember the course being very hands-on – I always enjoyed working on clients in commercial salon sessions. The College also helped me find quality work placements that would later lead to employment. “After the course, I went on to work in many different Barbers shops gaining experience and knowledge.”

The ambitious Stuart then took the leap into self-employment by opening his own barber shop – a decision that was quickly vindicated.

“In 2004 I decided that I wanted to set up my own business and I opened Hair of the Dog in Burnham-on-Sea,” he said.

“The business was a success from day one and I continued to run Hair of the Dog for 14 years.”

Stuart was then ready for a new challenge and set his sights on helping the next generation of barbers gain the skills they need to succeed in the industry.

“Eventually, in 2018, I made the decision to sell the business and focus on a career teaching barbering at Weston College.

“I teach the Level 2 Barbering VRQ and will soon be teaching apprenticeship barbering at Level 2 and 3. A large part of my role is getting learners into work placements and helping them develop the practical and personal skills they need to be employable within the hair industry.” Having gained such extensive and varied experience, Stuart is perfectly placed to offer insights into the industry and young people can succeed.

He said: “The barbering industry has seen a massive boom the last few years. It’s seen as a very fashionable career to be in and is popular on social media platforms.

“Barbering is very creative, and styles and trends are constantly developing. It is relatively easy to get into barbering if you’re willing to work hard and have a passion to keep learning.

“To someone looking for advice on getting on in this industry, I would say: make contacts, get as much work experience as possible, work to high standards, and never stop learning.”

To find out more and see the courses we offer, take a look at the Hair and Barbering section of our website.

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