Vickie Holmes is a senior tutor at Yorkshire College of Beauty (YCOB), based in Leeds. Established over 35 years ago, the college has trained thousands of students who have gone on to pursue exciting and rewarding careers in the Beauty Industry. The advanced apprenticeship they deliver is the VTCT Level 2 Diploma for Beauty Professionals and is a 2-year course that exposes learners to small tutorial-style teaching sessions combined with extensive salon experience as they move through their studies.
Yorkshire College of Beauty was the first VTCT centre to have apprentices complete the Beauty Therapy End-point Assessment when it was made available in 2019. It was evident that YCOB had developed a thorough, rigorous and profession apprenticeship when their first set of learners to complete the End-point Assessment had a 99% pass rate for their EPA which included 9 learners receiving distinctions. Since then, they’ve continued to maintain an incredible standard on the new apprenticeship achieving tremendous success with learners that continue to excel. Vickie credits this success to a team who go above and beyond and who truly care about each and every learner.
Vickie’s own passion for apprenticeships comes from a deep-seated thirst for education and growth, “I just love learning and passing my knowledge on to future generations. You will always see me learning through either reading books or attending webinars, whatever I can do to expand my knowledge.” She herself studied for an apprenticeship at YCOB and knew, even in those early days, that eventually, she wanted to teach. “I came back to do assisting at YCOB whilst I was at Huddersfield University where I was studying for my Cert Ed. A position became available to teach once I had completed my degree and the rest is history,” she recalls.
For her, the most rewarding aspect of delivering apprenticeships is the opportunity to watch the learners embrace and learn something new each day while succeeding in their studies. She enjoys having discussions with her learners at the end of a week in the salon being able to relate their experience back to the subjects they are studying and thus further embedding their new found knowledge. “Every week they leave the college with more information to make them into the best therapist they can be, and we see them grow from a quite unconfident teenager to a fantastic, thoughtful therapist.”
She does see attendance as being the main challenge and stresses the importance of apprentices being prepared for hard work. She recommends that new apprentices should be “willing to work hard and listen to the advice given to them. It will be hard and tiring, but it will be worth it.”
Vickie believes the lack of confidence that she often detects in new apprentices can be overcome as they become more accustomed to talking to their peers, clients and salon colleagues. Additionally, as they begin to take initiative, they further develop self-assurance in their ability to work on their own. Other pieces of advice she gives are, “Do participate, do ask questions, do attend all lessons, do find a work placement, and do revise.” Possibly the key piece of advice for a learner new to their college and their course is to “Think positive, believe in yourself and remember anything is possible.”