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A NorthTec hairdressing graduate has followed her dreams and opened her own salon in Whangarei, just months after completing her qualification.
Diane Crocker, from Waipu, decided on a radical change of career after years of working in retail and as a teacher aide. While she enjoyed working with special needs children, she had a feeling this wasn’t what she wanted to do for the rest of her working life.
So Diane made the brave decision to leave behind her job and career and head to NorthTec to enrol in a two-year hairdressing programme.
She said: “At the age of 41 I decided it was time to follow my dreams. I was only going to do one year at NorthTec then get out into a salon, but I found the tutors and training such a valuable resource, and through my second year I had the chance to do work experience. After graduating at NorthTec I was employed in a salon, but it has led to me buying my own salon.”
At NorthTec Diane gained the Certificate in Hairdressing (level 3), the equivalent of a first-year industry apprenticeship, then went on to complete the Certificate in Hairdressing (Practice), another level 3 qualification which is equivalent to the second and final year of an apprenticeship in a salon.
Diane is now the proud owner of Classic Hair Design at 45C Maunu Road, which opened on 11 May. As well as all the normal hair services, the salon offers beauty treatments on Wednesdays, provided by another former NorthTec student, beautician Carleen Still. The duo also provide wedding special packages including all hair, nail and make-up needs, and will travel to the bride-to-be’s home by agreement.
Diane is now juggling the busy life of a salon owner with a mother to two adult children and stepmother to two teenagers. She is also undertaking training in small business ownership and ongoing professional development to keep her hairdressing skills up to date.
She said: “Since the salon opened it’s been really exciting and very busy. Hairdressing was always my dream. On leaving school at 16 I had an apprenticeship organised, but it fell through when the salon owner moved and I went into retail, got married and had two children.
“It was really exciting when I made the big decision to study, but it was scary when I got a few weeks in and thought, my gosh what have I done! Could I really do all this studying and relearning? But with the encouragement of my tutor and family, I succeeded.
“At NorthTec I was known as “Camp Mother” to the younger girls, and everyone said I should be running my own place! It has been a dream for many, many years to own my own salon. In the end I just decided to go for it.”
The premises near the BP Service Station in Maunu Road which Diane is now using may bode well for her, as it has been a hairdressing salon ever since it was first built in the 1960s. She only had to refresh its appearance and create her own look in red, black and white before it was up and running.
Diane credits her husband, Stephen, for being her “rock” and says she could never have started her own business without his support and encouragement.
After being open for a couple of weeks, she is now planning to start doing some marketing including “start-up specials”, and eventually hopes to take on staff to assist her.
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