Margaret Wandyga

Program Manager (Beauty) at Open Colleges

Tara Baldwinson

"The biggest thing is to have confidence in your abilities, when you go for an interview you may be required to perform a skills test so confidence is really important."

With fifteen years’ experience in the beauty industry Tara Baldwinson has a strong background in both performing treatments and education. Tara first started her career in beauty by completing a Diploma of Beauty Therapy.

Tara worked in a range of salons before eventually opening her very own business. She then ran her own salon for four years with a strong focus on facial and body treatments. With the experience of owning and operating her salon she then wanted to pass on her skills and knowledge and became a trainer with Open Colleges. As Program Manager for Beauty, Tara designs new courses, writes assessment documents, organises catwalk shows and mentors students and staff.

1 What inspired you to get into the beauty industry? Why is it an exciting career area to get into?

I had always been interested in the beauty industry from a young age, I liked the idea of being able to help people and make them feel good about themselves. I like that there is so much variety during the day, that you can do a range of different treatments and no two days are the same. I’m also a very social person so getting to talk to clients all day didn’t really sound like work.

2 How does studying beauty at Open Colleges prepare you for a job in the industry?

Open Colleges prepares you for the industry by teaching you all aspects that relate directly to the treatments you perform. During work placement you get hands-on experience working in a real salon environment that then enables our students to more easily gain employment.

3 What is the most interesting thing you have learnt through mentoring beauty professionals?

Every day I learn something new. The beauty industry is constantly changing and updating with new treatments being introduced. I love that after 15 years in the industry I continue to learn and grow my skills. Recently I heard a fun fact that you cannot absorb Vitamin D from UV rays when the light passes through glass.

4 What advice would you offer students looking to gain an advantage in the beauty industry job market?

Practise, practise, practise. Perform treatments on family and friends and ask for feedback. The biggest thing is to have confidence in your abilities, when you go for an interview you may be required to perform a skills test so confidence is really important.

5 What's the most rewarding thing about working in the beauty industry?

Clients come in and they have had a really bad week, when they leave they feel like a new person. Other clients come in and they may have a condition that they are very self-conscious about, being able to assist them to feel good about themselves is really rewarding. When performing bridal makeups, seeing how happy the bride is and knowing that in a small way you have contributed to that happiness is a fantastic feeling.

6 What are your predictions for the industry over the next 5 years?

The biggest thing would be for the beauty industry to become more regulated, so that people are required to hold a qualification to work in a salon. We have seen the beginning of this with the de-regulation of solarium usage and I think regulating would be the next step. I also think we will start to see a higher level of skin treatments that are more accessible to clients.

Work experience goes hand in hand with training, there is always something new to learn and being exposed to new salons and different surroundings will help you to gain more knowledge and be the best at what you do. 

7 Anything else you would like to add?

The career outcomes with a beauty qualification are endless. When I gained my Diploma of Beauty Therapy I never thought that one day I would be in training and education passing on my skills and knowledge to others.

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