Cosmetology course gives education a makeover

The course was approved in a unanimous vote by the board of trustees

Campbell River students looking to enter a career in cosmetology will be able to do so from the comfort of home — and at a substantially reduced cost — thanks to the approval of a new course to be offered by School District 72 beginning in September.

BAA Cosmetology 11 and 12 will offer select applicants spots in a course that will teach them the theory and practice of hairdressing and provide an overview of operation and management of a hair salon.

“When they’re finished, they’ll be completely qualified hairdressers and nail technicians who will be able to work in a cottage industry or in theatre,” said Diana Camerin, career facilitator at Timberline Secondary School.

Camerin developed the program with Carihi career facilitator Jeff Lontayao and the assistance of SD72 assistant superintendent Nevenka Fair and secretary-treasurer Kevin Patrick.

The course was approved in a unanimous vote by the board of trustees Tuesday night, during its final meeting of the 2014-15 school year.

Camerin said she has been trying to push the program in the school system for years.

“I had a vision for this years and years ago. These proposals have probably worn down my last four principals. It’s been a trial by fire; every time I walked in with hairdressing, they quit,” she said to laughter from the board.

The program, which Fair said meets all the Ministry of Education requirements for a self-developed, Board/Authority Approval course, will be run through a partnership with Industry Hair and Body Care, which will provide a certified instructor.

Units will include Cosmetology 11A-D, and 12A-D for a total of 32 credit hours. Students will have to have completed English 10 and Math 10 with passing grades to apply, and enrolment will be limited to 12 students in the first year.

To access the program previously, local students would have needed to travel to Courtenay, where the course costs $13,000, or Vancouver, where the cost is $21,000.

Through Campbell River School District, the course will cost approximately $1,100 for the student’s kit and textbooks.

“I think it’s remarkable the school district is reaching out and providing opportunities that are not traditional sitting-down-in-rows classrooms,” trustee Ron Kerr said, citing the Teen Flight program run through SeaLand Aviation at Campbell River Airport. “This is another option for people who might decide they want to take that path and now they can be here and do it. They don’t have to leave like everybody else does.”

Cosmetology students can begin recouping their costs as soon as they begin cutting hair, by keeping any tips they’re offered. After three months of instruction, they can be apprenticed and be paid for their work.

“They can come out at the end of June with some money in their pocket and their kits paid for,” said Camerin. “And they will have provided a community service because they’ll be opened at reduced cost to seniors or whoever Industry decides to invite.”

To get that money, the students will have to put in time. The program will include hours after final bell and weekends, to accommodate the schedules of their clients. The program also runs through the summer as a year-round course.

Camerin said Industry is looking at the idea of eventually installing cameras and offering the theory portion of the course as an online streaming option throughout the province.

Trustee Joyce McMann credited Camerin for her perserverance in continuing to develop and push the program, which the board approved unanimously.

“There was some incentive to moving it along,” Camerin said. “I said I wouldn’t retire until it was actually up and running.”