When Stephanie Raux started her apprenticeship half-way through Year 10 she planned to keep her Year 12 options open ‘just in case’ hairdressing didn’t work out for her. As hindsight has shown, that was never in doubt. Thanks to the early successes Stephanie notched up on her apprenticeship pathway her future as a hairdresser was assured.
“As it turned out, I didn’t need to stress out about tertiary entry levels or whether to go to University or not,” said Stephanie. “Two months into my apprenticeship I was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in hairdressing in a regional competition; then I won the regional WorldSkills Competition and to crown this off I won gold at the 2016 National WorldSkills Competition. To me that showed I must be doing something right,” she laughed, “and I have never looked back.”
Stephanie hails from Dalby, a rural town in Queensland’s Darling Downs region. She says winning such a prestigious national competition as WorldSkills is not just good for her, but for her town. “It’s got my name out there and put the region on the map as a provider of high quality training. I was lucky enough to experience this first hand through my teachers at TAFE West Queensland and through my host employer Hair at Dalby.”
Stephanie says she ‘fell into’ hairdressing after hearing about an opening coming up at the salon. “While I hadn’t grown up thinking I was going to be a hairdresser, as it’s turned out I do have some of the essential skills you need for the job,” she said. She lists these as being able to communicate with a range of people, being creative, being a good listener, and being tactful and honest.
She described her decision to do an Australian School-based Apprenticeship as an ‘ideal’ way to kick start a career and begin earning a wage. “While many of my friends are just beginning their post-school studies, I am three-quarters of the way towards my qualification, and learning so much on the job every day,” said Stephanie. “My advice for anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship—especially if you’re not particularly enjoying school—is to go for it. Starting a trade early will set you up for life.”
After she gains her certificate Stephanie is considering doing further studies, possibly in counselling. “As a hairdresser you spend a lot of time with clients who often discuss things they are going through or issues they are facing. I really love to help people and I think it would be great to be able to combine hairdressing with counselling—that way you’re offering the complete package—helping people look great on the outside and feel better on the inside. That would be a very rewarding thing to be able to do.”
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To invite Stephanie to share her success story at your event please contact VETAlumni@education.gov.au.