Since November 2020, students from Glasgow Clyde College have been benefiting from national and international industry insights on Instagram, hearing from the likes of Australian celebrity hairdressing icon Sharon Blain, to Oscar and BAFTA award-winning make-up artist Christine Blundell.

Julie Wales, Head of Curriculum: Hairdressing, Beauty and Complementary Therapies at Glasgow Clyde, boldly began reaching out to industry experts via LinkedIn, to see if they would be interested in sharing their expertise with students via Instagram.

Julie Wales said:
“Industry experts across the world have been thrilled to be asked and have been so generous. During lockdown has been a great time to do this as we have been able to take advantage of their spare time.”

Industry experts have ranged from Scottish Hairdresser of the Year Dylan Brittain, highly sought-after nail technician Gemma Lambert, London barber Joe Mills, and the USA’s Ted Gibson, celebrity hairdresser and owner of the first smart salon in the world powered by Amazon and Alexa.

“The range of conversations we have been having has been staggering,” Julie said. “It’s fantastic for our students to hear from such a wide range of people, who all have unique experiences that students can learn from. On Instagram, we have been able to speak about the challenges the hair and beauty industry faces, how we can improve the sector for recruitment and so much more. The sector has been really open and sharing.”

Julie thinks that it is much harder than it used to be to attract young people into the industry.

“Colleges received a lot of poor press twenty years ago. Colleges were thought of as a poor place for hairdressing education and there was a perception that those coming from colleges were not good enough. The truth is that the talent pool from Scottish colleges is exceptional. Colleges have produced lots of award-winning hairdressers and the industry is really taking us seriously.”

The popular Instagram Live sessions also provide students with the opportunity to ask experts questions. There has been support for the sessions from colleges around the UK, with Yorkshire College, Glasgow Kelvin College and Kendall College regularly tuning in to hear from the latest speaker.

Julie said:

“It has given Glasgow Clyde students a real buzz. One of the Level 6 Hairdressing students said that the Instagram Lives are the only thing that’s been keeping the students going, and that makes me feel like I am somehow managing to contribute during what is still a really trying time for many.”

Watch back all of Glasgow Clyde’s industry ‘Insights’ on Instagram here.