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27 March 2014

Level 3 Hairdressing students at CAVC to set up their own salon

A group of enterprising Hairdressing students from Cardiff and Vale College have won funding to set up their own salon in Ely.

The Level 3 Hairdressing students have secured a £15,000 award from the Further Education Pioneers scheme. CAVC is working with further education colleges across South East Wales and UnLtd to deliver the initiative, a unique model that invests directly in students with innovative ideas that will benefit their local communities.

The CAVC learners had to produce a business plan and proposal, and then go through a Dragon’s Den-style pitch. They focused on the social and community regeneration benefits of their proposed salon on Mill Road in Ely, to give a different take on the business.

Amanda Everson – Wales Manager – for UnLtd said "The salon team gave an impassioned pitch at one of our panel presentation events.  They were all able to demonstrate their commitment and awareness of the need to locate their venture in an area that has suffered long term issues such as unemployment, low educational attainment and health issues. 

"The hair and beauty business will focus on creating an environment that is inviting, supportive and accessible while offering a quality and affordable service.  They plan to encourage community members to gain work experience within the salon, discover their talents and interests and provide a link to their local college to gain confidence in re-entering education.

"The UnLtd FE Pioneers Award will provide the vital start-up costs to make this happen, and I too am looking forward to the launch and having a pamper myself!"

“It was amazing, we’re all really excited,” Ellen Bunston, one of the learners who made the pitch, said. “The idea was that we go in and run the salon ourselves. We have to do enterprise as part of our course but it is such a great opportunity to have our own salon – we can offer a welcoming environment in the local community.”

Another of the students, Bismwa Gwom, added: “We concentrated on the community benefits the salon would bring, bring the community together. We have also been in contact with Communities First.”


They did their research in the local area. “We’ve had some really good feedback,” Ellen explained. “Someone told us that they recently paid £67 for a cut and blow dry – with us you would not need to spend as half as much!”

The students now are looking into decorating and stocking the salon, preparing signage and getting ready for an opening launch event in a month’s time. They have already entered into a partnership with hair product supplier Goldwell.

The salon in Ely will be on an initial six month lease, but the students plan to continue the business after that. It is hoped that the Ely salon can be used as a base for work placements for future students and the students are exploring funding options for another salon.

CAVC Head of Hairdressing, Beauty and Complementary Therapies Ceri Evans said: “I’m tremendously proud of the learners, they are some of the most enthusiastic learners that I’ve met in 17 years of working in FE. The skills and experience that they have gained on their course should support them in this venture and to a sustainable business for their futures.

“I met with the learners in the planning stages to support and guide them and their drive and ambition to succeed was apparent then. Their tutors Maria McCarthy and Amanda Hockey have worked very hard in helping the learners in the planning stages of this project and their enthusiasm has definitely influenced the learners and helped them to achieve a positive outcome. I’m also grateful to CAVC Deputy Head of Widening Participation Wayne Carter for his support throughout for the learners and in helping to make this happen. It’s a great achievement!”

The aim of the FE Pioneers programme is to provide a catalyst for the development of social entrepreneurship activity and raise the profile and benefits to society of social entrepreneurship in the FE sector. Learning by doing, taking risk, and exploring the impacts on society are key objectives where students will pitch their ideas to a panel who will seek to invest in their social venture. It is co-ordinated by CAVC through the Regional Enterprise Hub.