Friday, 16 May 2014

My Experience: My Thoughts On Training

Training is a subject that I get asked an awful lot about.  At the end of the day, you truly get what you pay for and what you put into in you will reap the rewards of.

I think when you're unfamiliar with brands and company names, it's extremely difficult to work out which is the best way to go as you literally don't have anything to compare it to.  I know I was like that and since we're talking about spending at least a good few hundred pounds, it's not something that you can afford to get wrong.

The way I see it is that you have three paths you can go down, so I'm going to go over the pros and cons of each one with you.  Please bear in mind that if you've done training via the methods I mention and don't agree with what I say then that's okay as everyone's experiences are different.  I don't feel that I can provide you with anything worth reading if I'm not comfortable with openly telling you my opinions.

 My first glitter tip
So let's get into it with your options.

Your local community college
The first one is to enrol yourself at your local college.  This is typically over a college year which in reality is a nine month period from September to June.  Usually you'll have the option to do a full time or part time version of the nail, beauty or hair course, both of which will result in the same qualification.  Like I said earlier though, the more you put in the more you'll get out so you will definitely come out of it more knowledgeable if you can attend the full time version. 

Generally you need to do manicure and pedicure units to then be allowed onto nail technology (enhancements.)  This is because they teach you the underpinning knowledge in these two units and then build on that for your enhancement training.  At my local college this was 8 weeks for manicure, 8 weeks for pedicure and then nail technology for 16 weeks on a part time basis as I was still on full time employment. 

College is great in terms of you learning slowly over time and believe me, it's a lot to learn so it means you're not overwhelmed with it.  The plus side to it is that at the end, you'll be qualified with a general certificate.  This means you can use any brand that is willing to sell to you (some companies restrict selling their stock to you unless you train with them, for example, Jessica Nails)   If this is the case and you want to buy their stock, you can pay for a conversion course at a later stage.  

The down sides to college are that, in my experience, there was a lot of the fine tuning but yet important knowledge which is missed.  One huge example was that there were no good explanations offered of what the shape the nail should be when it's finished so some of the girls produced all kinds of wonderful shapes that I would say were almost like a 50p, I promise you that I'm not joking.  We also got next to no training on rebalancing and infills (the maintenance services of wearing enhancements.)  

The inconsistencies of college can be really frustrating as well.  One of my friends did the same course two years after me, the tutor had changed to someone else who had no interest in teaching them.  She was left unsure of certain processes to which I sat with her myself and went over it.

My first full set, I actually giggle at these

Home learning / online courses
The second option is home learning / online courses which seem like a great idea to people who say that they're "too busy" to go to a class.  To a certain extent I think that if you're too busy to go to a class then the likelihood is that you won't be able to truly refine the skill or find time to fit your clients in.  

The idea of these courses sound great until you realise that sending your work back and forth means that there's no one to watch where you're going wrong.  Obviously without a professional watching over you, you have no real idea if you're performing the service correctly and more importantly, safely.  Safety is critical which opens a whole can of worms in terms of picking up bad habits and never being able to refine the skill without further training or assistance.  

A massive point to be made is, as you're not actually watched to ensure it's even you producing the work, it can cause insurance issues.  I've heard of plenty of times that the certification that some businesses offer is not recognised by insurers.  Your insurance to work in this professional is critical because if you do not have it, you can be sued personally for any damage.  

Training with a brand specifically
Finally, you can choose to be trained directly with a brand like NSI or CND through Creative Academy.  You will be taught their specific techniques to use the product and the level of training is at a high standard.  Afterall, once you're qualified you and your work will be representing them as a brand so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands in terms of the education.  

I really don't want to pinpoint individual companies for poor customer service but it's something I find incredibly important as typically, you truly test this out after you've handed over your hard earned cash (aka, too late to back out!)

A company with an excellent customer service record and outstanding training is Creative Academy+ Manchester, if you're in the North West/willing to travel.  By the time I stumbled across them I was already trained for quite a lot of services but I have witnessed some of their training methods and it's blown me away.  One of their techniques I caught a glimpse of on a photo, if the college I went to had even had gone remotely in this direction I can guarantee that they would produced a higher level of nail technician (out of the 16 ladies who attended my course at college, I was the only person who pursued a career in the industry.) 

A side note on brand specific training
As much as all of the brand names may be foreign to you, Google them (it will never laugh or point at you at your questions, it's what I tell myself!)  You'll probably find a professional forum called Salon Geek with loads of information on any brand you can think of.  I would even go a step further and find my nearest salon that offers the treatment using the brand, see what it's like for yourself.  Research is key to avoid retraining at a later stage.

Lastly, there is another option which I am hesitant to even refer to as a "path." There are certain places that teach you a whole skill in a day or two day period.  This is absolutely fine with a service such as spray tans or to improve certain existing skills but I would strongly advise that you avoid learning something so in depth like nail enhancements on a course like this.  

Things that are worth noting
I don't want to start on some of the horrific things I've heard but put it this way, nearly every person I know who has done either an online or one day course has had to pay again to be trained via one of the other options.  

No matter which method of training you choose, the thing you need to be looking for (and the question you need to be asking) is "Is the qualification you provide recognised by Beauty Guild and is industry recognisable to insurers?"  If the answer is yes then that's the bare bones of what you're looking for.  You will need to be insured to work with the public (this is generally roughly £50 a year) but will cover you for millions should anyone pursue a legal claim against you at any point.  You do not want to end up with a certificate that's not worth the paper it's printed on.  Large colleges will be no problem with this and are pretty mainstream.  I'm just a little more cautious of the small, one room type of places that they refer to themselves as "a college." Like I say, if you ask that question then that's the basics of what you're looking for.

One of my friends paid around £350 for a nail enhancement course with a company who refer to themselves as 'college.'  She told me that when they arrived the tutor told them to 'get on with starting a full set of nails and she will come around and help.'  I literally have no idea how someone would even start without any basic knowledge, I know I wouldn't have known what to begin with.  Needless to say I've recommended that she trains with Creative Academy Manchester because it's only around 35 minutes from Liverpool.  I really wish I could mention another company (the one she went to) but it would be unprofessional of me to do so.  I will, however tell you that she did a one day waxing course there too where quite of few students took the top layer of skin off their model.  This why the right training is crucial in this industry. 

The last thing I have to say on the subject is the aftercare of your chosen route.  You have to ask yourself about what sort of aftercare you'll get from your training because let me tell you now, when I left college I had absolutely no salon experience and a lot of mistakes that I needed to make and learn from.  College offered no support with no contact from the tutor after our end date what-so-ever so it was down to me to figure it out.  I've heard from a few ladies who did the online courses that their emails didn't get a reply to either so it really leaves you stuck.  I have to say that the Creative Academys have their own closed group on Facebook which provide a support network for anyone who's trained there at some point, whether you're a new therapist or not.  When you're learning it's really easy to forget something so it's a great way of asking something and someone else from 1,500 or so other therapists can answer you quickly!

I'm trying to think if I have anything else for this post... I have no doubt there is more as I apparently have plenty to say for myself.  All of the above opinions are my own.  I'm generalising some aspects, not everyone may have the same views but they're based on conversations I've had with so many people in this industry over the past few years.  I did ask the followers of my facebook page in a post posted on the 11 May 2014 for their experiences of training so please browse the various comments for more mini reviews on the paths they chose and interestingly, the retraining they did.

I have some book recommendations with links in the main "advice" tab underneath the banner on here for you to check out.  They helped me a great deal with many of the basic principals and are an excellent source to refer back to if your mind goes blank.
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1 comment:

  1. Love the glitter nail, and it's scary there are some ""qualified" people around who rip skin off people now, and do all sorts of underhand things they shouldn't, the right training is the only way when you are dealing with other people xx

    Laura xx


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