New Salon offers short cut to success for teenagers

Budding hairdressers will now be able to work on their styling skills at a new salon for teenagers interested in apprenticeships and work-based learning.

The unit at the Poultec training centre at South Green Park, Mattishall, near Dereham, was officially opened on yesterday by the new students.

Funded by Norfolk County Council, building work started four months ago and the first seven recruits on the level one BTEC Introduction to Hair and Beauty started in September.

Just over �300,000 was awarded to the Poultec centre, which has gone towards the salon and a new business suite at Dereham's Neatherd High School, which was officially opened last month.

The money also contributed to a Masterchef suite for food manufacturing, leadership room and outdoor atrium for students at the Poultec site. These areas will be finished by the end of this year.

Students from Neatherd High School, Northgate High School, in Dereham, Fred Nicholson School in Toftwood, near Dereham, Litcham High School and Dereham Sixth Form College will now be able to learn hairdressing and beauty skills in the salon one day a week for two years.

These schools are part of the mid Norfolk partnership, which is a programme for 14 to 19-year-olds and also includes Poultec, Norwich City College, Easton College and Norfolk Training Services, which is based in Norwich and teaches motor vehicle skills.

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Ed Bales, managing director of Poultec, said: 'I was really proud when the partnership asked Poultec to develop the facility. We are already a work-based environment and the students get hands on experience. We want to help teenagers find a job in their chosen career.'

The 14-year-old students on the BTEC are led by Charlene Forder, from Mulbarton, near Wymondham, who teaches hair and beauty at City College in Norwich.

Skills learned through the course, which is equivalent to two GCSEs, include skin care, plaiting, face painting, styling women's hair and barber techniques. These will be practised on each other and hair models.

It is also hoped that people above the age of 16 will be able to complete apprenticeships and short bespoke courses at the salon.

'I feel that work-based learning offers work-based opportunities and the government is recognising this and is pushing apprenticeships,' Mr Bales added.

Nikki Smith, 14-19 project manager for the northern area local operational partnerships, said: 'The students have said it feels like they are working in a real salon. All of them have said they want to continue in the hair and beauty industry because of what they have experienced so far.'

One of the current students from Neatherd High School, Laura Sutton, 14, from Toftwood, near Dereham, said she has enjoyed learning in a small group.

The Poultec centre was opened in 1997 and teaches apprenticeships in food manufacturing, customer service and retail, and hospitality, among other skills.

It mostly teaches youngsters from Norfolk but also educates people from other areas of Britain in the food and drink manufacturing.

For more information about the courses available through the new salon, contact Miss Smith on 01362 850983.

For more information about different courses at Poultec visit or email