New Hairdressing programme introduced at SIT Invercargill
Publish Date: Monday, 25 March 2024
New Hairdressing programme introduced at SIT Invercargill
From left: SIT Hairdressing Tutor Megan Currie instructs student Chloe Little in the SIT training salon. A brand new hairdressing programme has been introduced this year at SIT, which should see graduates help to fill staffing shortages in the industry.
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The SIT Hairdressing team are celebrating the launch of a brand new hairdressing programme introduced this year at SIT | Te Pūkenga, which provides a different pathway into becoming a hairdresser. 

The new unified programme, the New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing (Level 3), has been developed in conjunction with industry over the past 2 years, due to the former qualification expiring. SIT Hairdressing Tutors, Megan Currie, Donna Bowman and Trish Dowling are excited about this advancement in hairdressing training as it creates a completely new pathway to become a qualified hairdresser. “It is a huge change which should open the door to more new hairdressers entering the workforce,” said Ms Currie.

“This new qualification should help fill in some gaps in our industry,” said Ms Bowman. There had been a shortage of qualified hairdressers for “quite some time”, not only in New Zealand, but also further afield, across Australasia, and globally.  

The new programme is being rolled out across the Te Pūkenga Business Divisions in New Zealand, who deliver level 3 hairdressing programmes, starting in 2024. “Hairdressing tutors across the network are essentially teaching the same course”, said Ms Dowling, adding “We can put in our own individual flavour, which suits our region’s needs.”  The tutors agreed the new programme is a big plus for consistency, and “will be great for moderation, and the sharing of ideas and resources”. The level 4 programme is being created this year by a dedicated working group of tutors from the Business Division network and a capability advisor, to be ready for use in 2025.

The new programme sits alongside the apprenticeship pathway, which is still offered. At present, the apprenticeship pathway usually takes 3 years to complete. A big advantage of the new programme is the reduction of the overall length of time to become a qualified hairdresser. After successfully completing Level 3 and Level 4, students gain the New Zealand Certificate in Hairdressing, Professional Stylist (Level 4), and can work with broad guidance said Ms Bowman.

Described as “action packed”, the new level 3 programme is made up of eight papers; content covers many practical skills such as: shampooing, treatments, wet & dry styling techniques, blow drying with a variety of brushes, hair ups, braiding, hair cutting, colouring, foiling and much more. As part of their final assessment for each paper, students create a portfolio of their best work.

“It is a very busy, full programme,” Ms Bowman said. “There’s a departure from working in unit standards for us at SIT, and there’s less theory assessment, but that’s what industry wants, which is more emphasis on learning practical, hands-on skills,” she explained. Instead, the students will be in “more intensified” training for 23 hours per week. In year one, at Level 3, “a good grounding” in many of the basics are covered, and in year two (Level 4), beginning at SIT in 2025, the content is mostly fashion work – cutting, colouring, foiling, hair ups, styling, lightening & toning, colour correction, perming, straightening and more.

The extensive range of skills students learn will be practised at the many client days scheduled throughout their programmes over the two years, “so once qualified, they can go out and work in a salon immediately, and be industry ready with some broad guidance”, Ms Bowman added.

Ms Currie said the new programme was aimed at both school leavers and adult learners. The shorter overall training time could be appealing to mature learners and others who may have thought about a career in hairdressing, but couldn’t afford to train under the apprenticeship scheme. “Adult learners could benefit from the new structure, and salons who may prefer to employ a graduate are given more choices with potential employees as well,” she explained. 

Southern secondary school students can access hairdressing courses through STAR and Murihiku Tertiary Academy, partnership programmes between schools and SIT.  “They can get a taste of hairdressing” through these programmes, which could lead onto a full-time course, Ms Currie added.

The tutors stated hairdressing as a profession was stimulating and very rewarding. “You can work on your own or as a team. A hairdresser is a big part of the fashion industry and can have a strong influence on how people feel about themselves, and play an important role in our community,” Ms Currie said.

SIT Hairdressing is hosting an Information Evening on the 8th of April to inform local salons about the new pathway and distribute information on the new programmes. The next Level 3 intake starts on the 22nd July 2024. SIT Invercargill campus offers Free fees and the Zero Fees Scheme for eligible students on the new programme.