Lauren, Beauty Therapy, Level 3

Lauren Barker has “big aspirations” after studying Beauty Therapy at Reading College and hopes to go into management at a leading skincare company.

Lauren completed her work placement at a high street store beauty counter, which helped her to secure a part-time position at Clarins while completing her studies.

Lauren explains that what she learnt at college gave her “customer service skills, and how to be professional when carrying out consultations.” This has helped to kick-start her career.

She chose to study at Reading College rather than anywhere else because “The facilities are better for beauty, the staff are absolutely lovely, and it is an overall nicer environment to be in as opposed to other colleges.”

“I like to help people and beauty therapy is a way to do that. You’re not a nurse or doctor or anything like that, but in your own way you’re helping people and that is what appealed to me.

“When I came to the open event the tutors were really supportive and gave all the information that I needed. That’s what swayed me, it seemed very positive.

“The friends you work with during beauty therapy, you’ll have for a very long time. I’ve absolutely loved the friendships, and just having the chance to learn something new.  When we were learning massage, we were going a little bit too slow, so my tutor put some music on to speed things up. They make it fun, and I absolutely love that.

“It’s an experience that I think everyone should have. It’s not like school; you are treated like an adult.  You are treated as your own person and not as a whole class together. You’re not in that sterile environment; you make your own choices.”

As well as combining a part-time job with her beauty programme, Lauren studied for her GCSE Maths qualification at Reading College. Lauren says:

“Maths has always not been my strong point!  I’ve struggled with that over the years, but the maths team here are absolutely brilliant. The class sizes aren’t as big as the ones at school, and they can focus in on you more.

“Maths was a big issue for me, but when I was doing beauty as well, they incorporated maths into (the course) like using product milligrams or having to work with electrical currents.”

Lauren’s Activate Learning college experience has prepared her well for her new career. She says:

”If you work hard now, you will go on to do good things because you paid attention and were confident. Wanting to learn pays off in the end.”