Jack is an under-employed freight worker who lives in Boondall. He has a passion for art in all its forms—and a long dormant creative mind.
Lauren is an ex-hairdresser turned stay-at-home mum from Collingwood Park whose eldest kids have just started school—prompting the realisation that she is ready to get back to work.
They both stumbled upon a BUSY At Work social media post that had been shared on a barbering page, felt the tug of opportunity, and followed it all the way to this—their graduation from “Get BUSY in Barbering.”
The Queensland Government-funded Skilling Queenslanders for Work program offers unemployed and under-employed people an opportunity to gain accredited vocational skills learnt on-the-job, along with support into employment. The Barbering course is just one of the many Skilling Queenslanders for Work courses offered through BUSY At Work, along with courses in Land and Conservation Management, Construction, Hospitality, Engineering, and many others.
For Jack, barbering appealed to his personality and passion—a social career which would also allow him to express his artistry.
For Lauren, barbering attracted her as a simpler option to hairdressing—no colouring, styling or treatments, just great cuts.
The “Get BUSY in Barbering” Skilling Queenslanders for Work course is a pathway to a career in Barbering, involving 8 weeks of practical training and theory, work experience in a local barber shop and industry mentoring with connection to employers, capped off with a fun barbering competition. Jack and Lauren did not just finish this course successfully, but impressively. As they were called up to collect their certificates, the presenter extolled their efforts, their talents, and their determination.
Later in the ceremony, their submissions to the barbering competition were brought into focus—mannequin heads, distinguishable only by the cut of their hair. While Lauren felt quite confident in her submission to the competition, Jack had doubts about his own chances. His clippers died half-way through his cut, forcing him to finish with the scissors—his self-identified weakness. This made it all the more impressive when the winners of the competition were announced— Jack in 1st place and Lauren in 2nd.
This is a great accomplishment for both Jack and Lauren, who jumped over a few hurdles along the way. Jack, who sometimes works nights at the airport, would often get off work, return home to freshen up and head straight to class. He credits the engaging teaching style of the trainer with keeping him awake—an important skill when your students often handle sharp objects.
Lauren started the course a full week late, but quickly caught up—stirring the other students into boosting their own efforts. However, her work experience was unavoidably disrupted when her partner caught COVID, and she had to stay home for a week. Unfortunately, she herself fell sick the following week. Missing 2 weeks of work does not leave the best impression, and knowing this Lauren called the barber shop and begged them to let her make up her hours. This initiative and the quality of work she produced after her recovery not only restored her reputation but boosted it.
Though they are two vastly different people, the “Get BUSY Barbering” course brought both Jack and Lauren closer to realising their goals. For Lauren, this means becoming a qualified barber. For Jack, this is just his first step towards owning his own barber shop. To reach this goal, Jack is currently working to improve his barbering skills, with plans to explore the business components of a barber shop in the future.
To those thinking of taking this course, Lauren’s advice is simple and succinct: “Definitely do it.”
Jack’s advice: “If you’re sitting on the fence, I say go for it…There’s more to gain than to lose.”
Jack and Lauren have both graduated from the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Barbering course and are now pursuing an apprenticeship pathway in Barbering.
More information on currently available Skilling Queenslanders for Work courses and eligibility criteria can be found here.