Our News

16 June 2014

CAVC Level 3 Hair students open an inspirational salon

Level 3 Hair and Beauty students from Cardiff and Vale College have opened a new social enterprise in Ely – a salon called ‘Inspire’ which is already living up to its name.

Inspire is being run by the students themselves, supported by a grant from UnLtd and its FE Pioneers programme. Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bishop, Level 3 student and FE Pioneer bid winner, said she was delighted to get the award for her team to kick-start this venture. Catherine added that she had been overwhelmed by the support offered which had helped her to develop new skills and helped her shape a team to drive the project forward.

Fellow Level 3 Hairdressing student, 36-year-old Bismwa Gwom from Cardiff, said: “This is an inspirational journey for me and my fellow students who have put in a huge amount of work into the venture. We can proudly say that we have ‘broken our teeth’ in the industry - with a few teething pains along the way!”

As manager of the new business, Bismwa said she was looking forward to the challenge and her progression from College to being a social entrepreneur. She hopes to inspire others, especially people of all ages from Ely by creating social engagement opportunities through work placements and taster days at the salon.

Other students involved in setting up the salon – based at 4 Mill Road in Ely - have also benefited from ‘real life’ employability and enterprise skills gained through the process. The experience will prove valuable when they move into the world of work.

Amanda Everson, Wales Manager for UnLtd which provided a FE Pioneers grant of £15,000 to help set up Inspire, said: “From the initial pitch to UnLtd for support, there was a clear commitment to encourage community members to gain accessible work experience, provide local services in an area of high unemployment at affordable prices. It will enable the students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and become ambassadors of Cardiff and Vale College by showing the value of education and connecting the community to the College.”

CAVC Head of Hairdressing, Beauty & Complementary Therapies Ceri Evans added: “It has been a steep learning curve for students, staff and support partners to broker such support to make this venture a reality. Recognition must go to their course tutor Amanda Hockey, CAVC Deputy Head of Widening Participation Wayne Carter and Amanda Everson for believing in our students and creating this fantastic opportunity.

“Working collaboratively to support and develop new progression routes for our learners is paramount to our success at Cardiff and Vale College.”

The impact on the community is already being shown. Local resident Mrs Walsh, who was the Inspire salon’s first customer, said: “The girls are lovely and it’s like one big family – especially on a Wednesday morning. It’s like a little club for us!”