BLOG: Vicky, Beauty and Aesthetic Therapies (SCQF Level 5) student

In this weeks’ blog we caught up with Vicky who had the “best year ever” on our SCQF Level 5 Beauty and Aesthetic Therapies course!

Hello Vicky! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi! I’m Vicky Hay, I’m 29 years old and I just completed the SCQF Level 5 Beauty and Aesthetic Therapies course at Moray College UHI last month. I live in Huntly and I studied the course full-time so I commuted through to Elgin when necessary and I also maintained two part time jobs alongside my course.

Why did you decide to study this course?

I already have previous qualifications in beauty but I wanted to further my knowledge and skills so this course was perfect for me! Having previously studied at Moray College UHI a number of years ago, I knew that’s where I’d want to return to as a mature student as I had a great experience back then.

Was there anything you wish you knew before starting the course?

Well, nobody could have guessed it but COVID – this was a big shock to us all as a class, however, if it were not for the support and encouragement of our lecturers, it might not have been so easy. Also if I could go back I’d remind myself to maintain a good work/life balance.

What was it like studying during the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the beginning, we were lucky enough to experience practical classes, which due to the nature of the course, was beneficial. However, lockdown quickly put a stop to that, meaning the teaching turned to online only. The lecturers did their very best to ensure we were engaged during online classes, as well as providing us with the products to practice our practical lessons from home too. My partners’ nails never looked so good! We unfortunately missed out on some opportunities such as carrying out treatments on real clients, although there is always a silver lining, home learning did mean a bit longer in bed in the morning!

What measures were put in place to allow you to continue the course during lockdown?

Learning from home had made the experience of a practical based course a bit more difficult, but our lecturers were there to encourage and allow us to explore different ways of learning. Whether this was using a dummy head to do facials on, or to give us quizzes to let us really see how well we were retaining all the knowledge. It allowed us to see where we needed to revise or to further our practice on. The lecturers were open to changing the way we were learning to see if it improved the situation for us. To feel we were being listened to in such an uncertain time, was the most memorable part.

What skills do you feel you developed throughout this course?

Throughout the course, I found that it was essential to be organised. The blended learning approach has allowed me to further some of my IT skills, as well as learning to be more adaptable in my approach to learning. Time keeping is also a MUST! Thinking it might be okay to turn the laptop on with 3 minutes until class starts, before discovering that the battery is dead flat… not a good start to a morning! Another great skill I learned was the health and safety aspect and how to deal with this in a workplace. This has become so important now due to COVID, so the focus on this has helped me in terms of starting up on my own as self-employed. I have gained so much more self-esteem, I am now much more organised and confident as a person, allowing myself to be a bit braver in my approach to life.

Where would you like to go with your career in the future?

I have recently become self-employed as a Beauty Therapist within the Lush Beauty Salon. I am carrying out a range of treatments that I learned during the course, such as lash lifts, waxing, etc, with plans to go on and do further CPD training at the college. I want to keep working away to be the best Beauty Therapist I can be and hopefully someday own my own premises. Perhaps it may lead to me being a lecturer or learning assistant someday!

How has this course helped you with these future plans?

The course gave me the confidence and skills to start working on my own wee business and offer my client’s an opportunity to feel good about themselves, both on the inside and the outside.

What has been the highlights of the course?

The highlights have definitely been meeting some of the nicest people to have walked this planet. After such a difficult year, we were able to push each other to keep going and to walk away into the summer holidays with our qualification under our belts.

The support is there when you need it, our Learning Development Worker was an absolute god send. She was there to offer an ear, albeit over Webex video calls, however no rant was considered unnecessary. She deserves a medal for putting up with the moans and groans of this year just past. An amazing woman.

Another highlight was being part of the amazing Beauty Department. We were made to feel welcome from day one. From the lecturers, to the maintenance team, to the cleaning team – we were all part of it together. Our lecturers have such a mass of knowledge about Beauty, having all came from experience in different areas. This was such a bonus to us as students, as it could let us envision where we want to go next with our newfound talents!

If you could invite any 3 people to dinner, who would it be and why?

Dolly Parton – so she can sing to entertain us.

Will Ferrell – to provide the comedy.

Zac Efron – if the food is not good, got to have something to look at!

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a huge country music fan. I’ve visited Elvis Presly’s home in Memphis.

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?

I love nothing more than long walks with my two doggos, a get together with the family and lazing in the garden all day when the sun is shining. Oh, and if you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek on Netflix yet, please do, I was late to the party on that one and it is a proper cheer me up programme!

What are the top things you have learned over the past year?

As cheesy as it sounds, grab life with both hands and chase your dreams. If you want to make it work, you will - “fits afore ye winna ging bye ye”!

I didn’t have a clear career path when I first started the course, however having now experienced this course, it has allowed me to explore the basics in beauty treatments, which has also helped me learn about which parts of treatments I like and dislike.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of studying at Moray College UHI?

Be prepared, always have a pen and paper nearby. If learning from home, give yourself a nice tidy space to do so. Most importantly… GO FOR IT! Although COVID meant our year had more ups and downs than the Looping Star roller coaster at Cadona’s in Aberdeen, I have made lifelong friends with people that I would not of had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I can definitely say that the course was the best thing I have ever done. Best year ever.

Our Beauty and Aesthetic Therapy courses allow you to exit after each level into employment or progress onto a further level of study. Join us this September to gain the practical experience and develop the skills required to set you on your way!