Thursday, 19 November 2009

Our Diploma in Spa Therapies

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One of our newer courses at the National School of Aesthetics is our Diploma in Spa Therapies.  Both the industry and students indicated they wanted a course to build upon their beauty therapy skills.  In addition, there was a need for a strong course focusing on spa therapies not only in the South Island but also in New Zealand; this course needed to be comparable to “meaty” spa courses overseas.

Taking into account the needs of students and the industry, we started to form a moderately good-sized course to follow-on from the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics.  Industry indicated they wanted another diploma-level course.  In order to do this, we needed to have at least 120 credits (1200 hours) in total, 72 of which had to be at level 5 or above as equivalent to the National Qualifications Framework.

Bearing this in mind, we approached the course to teach a wide range of skills based on adapting massage techniques and movements to various treatments.  This would mean the course could be made to accept qualified massage therapists into it as well.

Our Diploma in Spa Therapies became New Zealand’s most comprehensive NZQA-Approved spa therapies course once the New Zealand Qualifications Authority approved it.  This record still stands to today, and it ensure students have a well-rounded grounding in various treatments to be able to perform confidently in a spa setting.

Here are ten reasons to consider our Diploma in Spa Therapies over any others:

  1. NZQA-Approved.  This means it has been independently verified “that a course is based on clear and consistent aims, content, outcomes and assessment practices which meet the necessary criteria and requirements.” (NZQA Web site)
  2. New Zealand’s most comprehensive spa therapies course.  This gives you more skills to attract more clients for more services and more opportunities for employment.  As a diploma-level course, this also helps meet Government’s goals of having more people holding higher-level qualifications to enable New Zealand’s economy to prosper.
  3. Purpose-built premises.  We specifically designed both wet and dry practical rooms with specialised equipment for the spa therapy course.
  4. Industry leaders.  We’ve been leaders in beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training for 25 years, and continue to lead with high-quality, outcomes-focused, industry-preferred training.
  5. An experienced tutor.  Angela Graham, our spa therapies tutor, has worked in the beauty and spa industries for nearly a decade both here and overseas, and, in her time, has worked for one of the UK’s top award-winning clinics, Zen Lifestyle, and was a finalist for the UK Body Therapist of the Year.  She also taught in the UK with one of Scotland’s oldest and well-known beauty therapy colleges, Mary Reid International School of Beauty, before returning to New Zealand to teach for us.
  6. Small class sizes.  We take 10 students per class with, in most practical situations, 5 working on the other 5.  This is amongst the smallest class sizes in our field in New Zealand.
  7. Approved for student loans and allowances.  If you meet StudyLink criteria, you may be eligible for a student loan and/or student allowance.
  8. Industry-recognised international qualifications available.  You can select ITEC or CIDESCO international qualifications to allow you to travel within New Zealand and overseas.
  9. Access to interviews to work on the cruise ships.  We have a strong working relationship with Steiner, the world’s largest single recruiter of spa therapists for cruise ships and land-based spas.  They even come and hold presentations and interview on our campus.
  10. Get ahead of the pack.  Graduating from our Diploma in Spa Therapies will give you more skills and more employ-ability over other candidates.

We have plenty of information listed on our Web site and specifically on our Diploma in Spa Therapies Web page, but, as always, if you would like further information on our courses or us, feel free to contact us during our office hours, and one of us will endeavour to assist you as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

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The National School of Aesthetics provides a wide range of relevant, high-quality information to prospective, current and graduated students, as well as to members of the public, with regards to our courses and operations.  We do this to ensure you know what is involved in your interaction with us and what we will expect of you during your course of study with us.

We know there might be a lot of information to consider, but we provide this so the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) are answered and expectations are clear.

One of the things Jacqui, Noel and I hear continuously in our day-to-day duties at the school is our information is comprehensive, and many careers advisors, prospective students and their loved ones are impressed by the level of information we supply.  This level of information does not seem to be readily available to people looking at some providers offering similar training; we supply it to make sure students seriously considering this career path are well-informed before they make a choice.

Documents like our course information pack and other printed material can become obsolete within a few years, so we focus primarily on our Web site for conveying information to the public.  Web sites are fluid, meaning they change over time to reflect the needs of everyone involved.

The course information pack or our Web site should be your first port-of-call for information.  The prospectus and other course information are created in such a way whereby links to our Web site are included to direct you to the most up-to-date information.

The Student Handbook is a collection of different policies and procedures relevant to students, as well as other information to help make enrolment and your time here at the school as easy as possible.  Again, this document (as a printed one) can become out-of-date as time goes on, so we provide an electronic downloadable copy on our Web site.

The National School of Aesthetics is also very committed to ensuring sustainability and environmental awareness, so, through this, encourages prospective students and others to consult the Web site over paper-based information.  This saves paper and the resources involved in creating these documents.

We also have provided a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on our Web site dedicated to general FAQs and also for enrolled students’ FAQs.  The latter can be found on the Students @ NaSA Web site,

Overall, we want to make sure that you, as a prospective or current student, know what you are getting involved in when you are looking at, or make the commitment to, studying with us.  This is the main reason we supply this information: to make sure you make an informed choice when you decide what subject you want to study and which provider you want to study it with.

As always, if you have any questions about the information we supply, or any other issue relating to the National School of Aesthetics, feel free to contact us during our office hours, and one of us will endeavour to assist you as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Facts and Figures Explained

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In the information pack we send out to prospective students, I’ve listed some vital facts and figures for anyone interested in us to consider.  As a person who has engaged in tertiary study before, I understand the need for prospective students and their loved ones to ensure their prospective students enrol at a provider who can offer them the best training, the best range of opportunities and the highest quality training to ensure they are employable after they complete their training.  You think questions like, “how likely is it I’ll get a job after I study this?”  “Will this course give me the skills I need in order to succeed in this industry?”  “How recognised is the qualification?”  And so on…

We used to list a huge amount of data on the “Why You Should Train With The National School of Aesthetics” sheet that comes with our course information pack (also known as a prospectus), but I took the liberty of simplifying this for the 2010 information pack.  We also moved to a more “overall” look with the information, so the information presented is from the 5 years prior (at the present moment) to give a better, more accurate picture of the facts and figures.

Instead of reviewing and explaining each fact and figure, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the rationale or how we figure that figure out behind each fact.

Students gaining one or more qualifications
In some of our courses, students can gain only one qualification, but in the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, students can gain three “embedded” qualifications as well as the large beauty therapy one.  Why we eventually went with the “one or more” figure was students can gain two qualifications out of the three in the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and still find employment in the industry (although all three is very much preferable, and the majority of our students do gain all three).  In addition, where a student might not pass a Certificate in Electrology (for example) through us, they may pass their ITEC Diploma in Epilation, which, essentially, allows them to work in the field.

The reason why some students don’t qualify in the third subject could be they had a legitimate reason for not being able to sit the component, i.e. medical reasons, or may have not been able to sit a part of that component, which may see them receive a lesser award.  It could be they didn’t meet the requirements or failed their final examination (students who have failed their final examination do have the option of resitting that examination at the next available opportunity).

In saying this, the number of students we have who do not complete all three embedded qualifications in their Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics is relatively low overall.

Graduates gaining 80% or 90% or higher in their course
The percentage gained by students is not rounded or distorted in any way.  We use a weighing system, whereby equal emphasis is given to all aspects of the course, i.e. 20% for attendance, presentation and other day-to-day activities, 20% for homework and projects, 20% for quizzes and tests.  The other 40% is loaded towards final examinations as the amount of work students need to do for that section is higher as case studies are completed throughout the year in addition to the actual examinations themselves.

And the work the students complete is not easy either.  We do not “dumb down” our requirements so we have a higher number of people completing and graduating, so the percentages are a true and accurate reflection of the National Qualifications Framework level requirements.

Passing external international examinations
Since some external international examinations are a unit-based system, and some students may have passed some units prior, we tally these types of examinations on a unit-by-unit basis.  Other types of examinations utilise one theory examination and one practical examination per subject, so we consider these on an examination-by-examination basis.  This gives the figure some consistency.

Employment and further study
The Government requires tertiary education providers to keep facts and figures about employment and further study.  Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules by which we should judge what is relevant and what is not, so some providers consider a one-week work experience “employment” in the industry.

We do not do this.

We include part-time and full-time employment in our facts and figures, as some graduates have family or other commitments and may only wish to work part-time.  Since beauty therapy and related fields include such a wide-scope of job opportunities and very customisable, we do include relevant jobs in associated industries, i.e. working at a cosmetics counter in a department store, using massage skills with personal training, et cetera.

Further study is considered to be any enrolment in any NZQA-Approved course or similar that can be used in conjunction with our qualification.  This may be a Diploma in Beauty Therapy graduate enroling in our Diploma in Spa Therapies, or a Certificate in Small Business Management through the Open Polytechnic, or a Certificate in Make-up Design and Production at the Design and Arts College of New Zealand or even a Bachelor of Nursing at CPIT.  Any related qualification is considered.  (Qualifications in areas like farming or mechanics, for example, would not be considered.)
This should give you a better picture of how we work out these facts and figures, and hopefully you will realise the information we give you is truthful, honest and relevant to our students, the industry and our graduates.

We are proud of the accomplishments of our students, graduates and staff, and we have nothing to hide when it comes to providing these facts and figures to you.

As always, if you have any questions about these facts and figures, or any other issue relating to the National School of Aesthetics, feel free to contact us during our office hours, and one of us will endeavour to assist you as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

In an industry like ours, presentation is quite important.  This isn’t to say a beauty therapist or spa therapist or nail technician needs to look like a supermodel, because that isn’t true either, and, to be honest, I believe we’d all have some big shoes to fill if that was expected of us.  No, I’m talking about presentation as a whole, both in our work and in our overall manner and appearance.

We hear about how first impressions always last, and it’s very important to realise how true this statement actually is.  So it remains important to be not only well-groomed on the outside but also well-spoken and well-mannered on the inside.  Remember, you are trying to sell a service to clients.

So little things like hair well-maintained and pulled back away from the face (if you have long hair) and keeping nails short and well-groomed are good.  Wearing appropriate (but not over-done) make-up and being dressed appropriately are two big areas as well.  You need to look like a professional person, not like you’re heading out for a Friday night on the town or spending a few hours at the gym or meeting up with old friends at a cafe for a coffee, because professionals dressed well command respect.

Manner is important as well.  Think of this as presenting your personality to others.  Being pleasant, well-spoken and thinking about how best to phrase your questions and answers are vital areas.  I’m not saying to re-invent yourself or act totally outside your comfort zone (like adding a plum to your speech or something like that).  What I am saying is be nice to everyone — you never know who that person you are talking to is, or who that person is connected to, or how your attitude might reflect on later dealings with that person or his or her associates — and think about what you are saying and how you say it.  When you ask questions, form them in your mind first to ensure you get what you want to ask across well, listen to the answer, and form dialogue from there.  This is quite important to ensure you gain and communicate the information you want to.

In your standard of work, both here and in the industry, needs to be presented well, neat and communicative.  This is particularly important for case studies / client consultation cards, as you need to have well-documented information available for others to follow in case you are sick (and they need to take your appointments), you have an accident while treating the client or the client has a negative reaction.  Also, things like treatment menus, business cards, and so on should be something that represents your industry and your professionalism as best as possible.

Overall, this blog is to help you think about how others see you in the context of being a beauty therapist, spa therapist and/or nail technician and in your professional life.  We have seen, at other providers both here and overseas, examples of wonderfully presented students and therapists, and also examples of not-so-professionally presented students and therapists, and to get ahead in the industry, you need to have as many things working in your favour as possible.  Presentation is one of these.  A solid, high quality education (which we obviously can offer you) is another.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

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The final part in my blog about applications deals with your photo and the application form.  These are two very minimal but important parts of your application with us.

he details of what your photo should be like are listed in our application form, but to make it brief, it should be a passport photo, i.e. the same photo you would get if you were applying for a passport.  This is usually about 5cm by 4cm and available from certain chemists and pharmacies.

You have the right to tell the person taking the photograph that you want to smile in it if it is not required for a passport.  (If you are using some of the photos for your passport, you usually are not allowed to smile.  Don’t worry; we won’t mark you down for not smiling!)

You also need to have an identification sticker on the back.  This usually lists your full name, the signature of a witness and the date they signed it.  What needs to be filled out is:

  • Your full legal name.  This needs to be your name as it appears on your passport or your birth certificate or any other legal document.  Mine would be “Scott Andrew Fack” for example, even if friends call me Scotty or I don’t use my middle name all the time.
  • The signature of a person who can identify you as you.  This is a legal document, so you need to have someone who can identify you (by using a driver’s license or passport in some cases) sign their name underneath.  Do not sign this yourself.
  • Date.  This is the date the witness signed it.

The identification sticker is a legal document so it must be filled out correctly.

We are required by law to determine the identity of each person who applies to the school for a course to determine their eligibility for funding and for other legal reasons.

On top of this, we use the photo for your ID badge, so it “kills two birds with one stone”.

The application form is another legal document we use at the school.  While it does not enrol you in a course, it does put you forward for consideration for enrolment in a course.

To clarify:

  • Applying for a course only determines your eligibility for enrolment in a course.
  • Enrolling in a course holds a place for you and gives you the right to attend the course.

When filling out the form, please make sure you:

  • Use a blue or black-inked pen.
  • Use block letters, i.e. SCOTT FACK.
  • Provide honest and truthful answers.
  • Fill out all relevant sections.
  • Initial all pages, where required, in the lower bottom right-hand corner.
  • Sign and date the declaration on the last page.

The best thing to do would be to read the form over first, figure out what you need to answer and where, and then fill the form in.  Familiarising yourself with the form first makes sure you don’t make any mistakes (or minimal mistakes) and it is presented well.

Be honest in the form.  Like going through immigration, if you aren’t sure, declare it.  Medical and learning conditions should be clearly outlined to us as some treatments can make medical conditions worse or fatal.  We obviously want to prevent that, or to minimise the risk, so it is important you tell us.

With learning conditions, it is important we know this as well as sometimes there are options to assist people with learning difficulties in tests and quizzes.  Evidence of this condition would need to be backed up by verified independent practitioners who are authorised to verify this.

Some common mistakes include:

  • Not providing your full legal name, i.e. your most current name that appears on your birth certificate or passport.
  • Mislabeling the citizenship area.  This is your country of citizenship as shown on your passport, i.e. “UNITED KINGDOM”, “NEW ZEALAND”, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.
  • Not placing the PC code for your course.  (This can be found in the course dates and times information or on our Web site.  You need to have this number to apply for a student loan.)
  • Forgetting to initial each page.
  • No answer for the medical disclaimer section (mark “NONE” if you have none of the conditions on the list).
  • Lack of signature or date on the declaration page.

Hopefully this little series of blogs on our applications have helped you a little more with your application, but, as always, since we are all only human, I may have missed some points (or caused more confusion… hopefully not!).

As always, you are more than welcome to contact us at the school if you have any questions, and we will be more than happy to assist you as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.

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A vital part of the application process is having written references from people we can contact to ensure you have a good work and/or study ethic and meet the strict criteria to achieve and succeed in this industry.

Why we ask for a written reference, more than a verbal reference, is a written one can be verified.  It relies on someone sitting down, thinking about you and your performance in whatever areas they have witnessed you in, and putting that information down on a piece of paper.  This gives the referee the opportunity to think about what they want to say (which is a lot nicer than putting someone “on the spot” so to speak) and give a well-thought-out image of you.

Just to clarify, a referee in this instance is the person writing the letter, i.e. the one who provides the reference.

What do we look for in a reference?

  • Honesty.
  • Information about you.  What type of person are you? How well do you achieve at things?
  • The letter should be “meaty”, i.e. shouldn’t be a few lines telling us essentially nothing.
  • A letterhead if the reference is “officially” from a school, business or organisation.
  • Date of the reference
  • Your name (first name and surname) should be mentioned at least one time in the reference
  • The referee’s name (first name and surname), position (if available), and contact details (i.e. address if not supplied on the letterhead, contact telephone number(s) and contact email address)
  • The referee should sign the reference.

We do accept email references, but we do need the full contact details of the referee so we can contact them directly to verify it.  We highly prefer written references over email references.

Also while we accept 1 written reference as a minimum, we do prefer between 2 and 3 written references to give us a better picture of you.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like further information on this or any part of the application process, please feel free to contact the office, and we will be more than happy to assist you as best as we can.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations for The National School of Aesthetics, the South Island’s leading beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training provider.