Charity provides hairdressers with mental health training in exchange for work experience

After an intense eight-week programme young people at Action for Children have successfully graduated with a Level 1 Award; Introduction to Hairdressing and Barbering.

A graduation day was held at Glasgow’s award-winning seafood restaurant The Finnieston

The partnership came about when Leigh Kerr, academy director at Rainbow Room International, was researching mental health training for her team.

At the time, Leigh wanted to find this training as a ‘just in case’ measure, but as salons returned to work in the aftermath of the first lockdown this type of training was more important than ever.

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A fate would have it around this time, Action for Children reached out as they were looking for barbering training for their young people to give them life and work experience and at the same time also to improve their confidence and wellbeing.

In return for Rainbow Room International providing the youngsters at Action for Children with the Level 1 Award; Introduction to Hairdressing and Barbering, the Action for Children team would provide Rainbow Room International’s Director’s, management and salon teams with training sessions focussed around First Aid for Mental Health and ‘Ask Tell Save a Life’ training.

Four ‘Ask Tell Save a Life’ training courses were provided to the Rainbow Room International team and there were eleven qualifications received by the team for First Aid for Mental Health.

Action for Children arranged a graduation day at The Finnieston.

Craig Houston, young person’s practitioner/acting service coordinator, discussed how the training has provided experiences for the young people and how they should all be proud of what they have accomplished.

Leigh presented the youngsters with their qualifications in shape of a plaque, certificate, tool kit and photo album, while in turn Craig and the youngsters provided Leigh with an award of recognition, flowers and chocolates as a thank you.

Paul Carberry, Action for Children director, said: “This has been a great partnership, one which we hope will grow in the future.

"Action for Children are thankful for the professionalism, care and support the Rainbow Room staff have given to our young people.

"To undertake this training during the challenges of the Covid crisis has been remarkable, both for the staff and the young people themselves.

"We know that the crisis has disproportionately affected young people especially regarding employment opportunities and their mental health.

"That is why this programme is so timely, it has instilled the confidence and skills the young people need to take their first step on a career journey.

"I’m sure they will be a cut above the rest!”

Leigh added: “I’m so proud of all the young people from Action for Children, they have worked so hard and now have the opportunity to continue their career in hairdressing further if they wish to.

"This partnership has not only allowed us to give back to a fantastic charity and their youngsters, but it’s also allowed us to be able to receive mental health training that now more than ever, is incredibly important and allows us to better take care of ourselves, our team and our clients and be able to talk more openly about sensitive subjects.”