Thanks to the Vocational programmes at West College Scotland, at just 17 years-old Leighann Carter knew exactly what she wanted to do when she left school.

Having attended college on day release as part of the Vocational Programme, Leighann was able to explore her interest in beauty therapy and determine if this was in fact the career path she wanted to follow.

Leighann commented, “My Aunt has her own salon which is what first sparked my interest in beauty therapy so I wanted to see what it was like first. The Vocational Programme provided me with the perfect opportunity to do that.

'I really enjoyed the course. College is completely different from school, so it was a nice change. The course was a good taster and taught me the basic skills I needed to apply for the NC course.”

Gaining the relevant skills and qualifications, Leighann was able to articulate on to a mainstream course and is now working towards her end goal of becoming a fully qualified Beauty Therapist.

“What I liked about this course is that there’s a mixture of practical and theory so your days are varied. With each block you learn something new. We’ve just started aromatherapy which I’m really enjoying as I’m interested in the holistic side such as massage and aroma therapy.

I think the course prepares you well for industry work,as the practical elements are setup like a real salon.

'A typical day can involve managing your own client list, prepping for them, carrying out treatments and completing any necessary paperwork.

'The course has been tougher than I thought. There’s a big jump from the Vocational course to the NC level then again from NC to HNC and HND, but the lecturers are really supportive and always there to help if you need it. It’s a lot of work but not enough to put me off and I’ve realised that being organised and not leaving coursework till the last minute is key.”

With her HND qualification in touching distance, and with Leighann now in the process of scouting out potential jobs, it’s clear that staying on to complete her HND has made her more employable.

“I’m glad I decided to stay on to do my HND as most salons prefer you to have this level of qualification. The College has not only prepared me in terms of the skills and knowledge but it’s also helped me develop my communications skills which are vital in this industry, my time keeping and focus and essentially given me more confidence.”

If Leighann’s story has inspired you to explore Beauty Therapy click here for further information on the courses available.