A new initiative has been launched in north Birmingham aimed at boosting skills and employability in the hair and beauty sector.
Education organisation Standing Ovation Project has teamed up with Birmingham-based hair and beauty wholesaler Aston & Fincher to create the new school in Erdington.
It will support young people aged 16 or over across Birmingham who are looking to gain experience and skills in the sector.
Standing Ovation Project was launched in 2016 by Anthony Daulphin and works with schools in Birmingham, Oxford and London to raise self-esteem and confidence among pupils, particularly those in danger of dropping out of education.
Last year, Mr Daulphin was recognised for his achievements by being named one of the city’s 30 most inspiring young people in BirminghamLive’s 30 Under 30 campaign which has just published details of its 2019 cohort.
The company recently moved to new premises in the Swannies Shopping Centre, in Erdington, and is now utilising vacant rooms to create the beauty school with additional space for teaching music production, DJ skills and presenting coming on board soon.
A community choir has also already set up home there to perform on Saturdays.
Mr Daulphin said: “This facility is for everybody but we are especially focusing on disengaged pupils who might be on the cusp of being kicked out of school.
“We’ve already had some from pupil referral units which have expressed an interest in visiting the salon.
“Some of these kids can’t focus in school five days a week but this is something which is of interest and could potentially keep them in school.
“I approached Aston & Fincher about coming on board and managing director Oliver Fincher loved the idea of helping young people in the community so donated equipment such as chairs and mirrors.
“We have one half of the room for hair and barber skills and the other is multimedia with a recording studio so students can learn how to make their own music. We would love to get a corporate backer for the multimedia room.”
Mr Daulphin said the salon had already received expressions of interest from more than 60 pupils and would be able to start teaching imminently.
He has brought local professionals on board to help with the lessons which will focus on introductory hairdressing skills like shampooing, blow drying and basic cuts.
Standing Ovation Project started out as a creative arts organisation and works with both regular and special needs school but has been expanding its operations into different areas.
Mr Daulphin said: “We work with just under 50 schools now across Birmingham, Oxford and London and a lot of the students are from disengaged backgrounds such as single-parent families or foster care – everything that you could imagine.
“But across the schools we work with, you have the whole spectrum such as children from what we would call a normal background to those from a difficult background.”
Looking ahead, he said there was scope to expand the idea of a work environment where students can learn new skills into different areas.
He added: “We’ve had interest from an electrician and also bricklaying so we could go into all different areas eventually.
“We still have some room to expand even more so it’s just a case of seeing where these opportunities could arise.
“And one thing I want to do every couple of months in the new salon is invite in the homeless so they can get their hair washed.
“It’s definitely a prototype that could be rolled out to other cities to benefit other communities and this is just the start of it.”