Born-and-bred Queenstowner, Katie Stevens, has found her niche as a Beauty Therapist after completing the New Zealand Certificate in Beauty Therapy (Level 4) at SIT Queenstown campus.
Katie was working as a retail assistant when she decided to commit to further study and training in Queenstown. After finishing high school she was quite hesitant to go straight into study. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do ... “, so she started out in retail, then looked for something more challenging because she couldn’t see herself progressing in the sector. Katie heard about SIT’s Beauty Therapy programme by word of mouth, and also remembered it from secondary school; Wakatipu High School had a STAR course, but at that stage it wasn’t offered to her as an option.
“I love living here so when I saw that the course was offered here, it was a no-brainer,” Katie says. The fees free programme was only one year in length, and these factors were also appealing.
“ ... SIT put me in a mindset of, [it’s] only a year, Zero Fees, I have an interest in the industry, what have I got to lose?”
Prior to the programme starting, Katie thought she had enrolled in “just a basic course”, but soon realised it was much more than that. “It provided a lot more learning opportunities, such as theory, product knowledge, visiting industry reps coming to speak to our class, as well as additional training opportunities,” she explained.
Alongside the beauty content, Katie says she learnt valuable business skills, such as customer service, team skills, how a salon should run, and health and safety as well.
One of the most valuable lessons Katie took away from her studies was “organisation is the key to success. You have to have clean linen, good communication with clients, trolley set-up ... everything was provided for us, we just had to take the step to be organised and have good time management.”
Katie enjoyed her time on campus too, especially meeting new people - classmates, tutors and clients. Course highlights were the off-site visits - Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa, Ivy Clinic, and the Dunedin trip; tutors who “were very helpful and always there when we needed anything”; and the Zero Fees Scheme.
Katie faced her hardest challenges on the programme during the pandemic. “Studying was difficult during the August lockdown because there was so much to cover.” She overcame this “by knuckling down and working hard to get my sign-offs”.
“I made sure I used my SDL (Self Directed Learning) days to my advantage and it did pay off,” she adds.
Katie has been working as a Beauty Therapist at Eve Beauty in Frankton, Queenstown, since January 2022. “SIT set me up with the base knowledge needed to gain this job,” she says. Continuing to learn on the job, Katie carries out most treatments and is working towards being able to perform all the salon’s treatments. “Since working at Eve I have learnt a lot more treatments that were not in the course, such as LVL lash lifts, brow laminations, BIAB nails”, and more.
Katie says she would eventually like to go overseas and work abroad. “I would love to use my qualification to travel for a couple years, then eventually settle somewhere and potentially set up my own home salon.”