Klingon script
More often than not, reading NZQA information is like trying to read Klingon.

As I said in my previous post about the New Zealand Beauty Expo, one of the most humbling pieces of feedback I received was about my blog entries on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ) in beauty therapy education.

Some providers and industry people said that my blog entries were easy-to-read and easy-to-understand.  I tried my best to avoid all the educational gobbeldygook speak that puts a lot of people off because, basically, reading it is like trying to read Klingon.

So, without further ado, here links to all the entries to make life a little easier:

I do not mind if you are another provider who wants to share these entries with your stakeholders or local industry, a beauty magazine or Web site wanting to share these entries with your readers or followers, a clinic owner or beauty therapist wanting to share this with your team members or with other beauty therapists, or a general member of the public wanting to share this with whomever, as long as you credit me as the author.  I believe this information is important so our industry, not a few organisations, can make the best choices for our educational future in this industry in New Zealand.

Thank you for your support!

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.

Apologies for the break between my last post about this and this one.  We had our NZQA External Evaluation and Review on Tuesday and Wednesday, I had my normal duties to perform on Thursday, and we were only at work for an hour or so on Friday because it started to snow… quite hard!

In my last post about the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ), I wrote about the dangers of this process.
In this post, I’ll talk about how the opportunities this process brings and wrap this all up.

The Opportunities This Process Brings

A Standardised Set of Skills

The New Zealand beauty therapy industry will now have a concrete set of skills and knowledge to determine what a beauty therapist, what a nail technician, what a spa therapist is.  As industry, you will feel somewhat more secure that a graduate from the National School of Aesthetics and a graduate from another provider will have (theoretically) the same core set of skills and knowledge.

This strengthens our industry as a whole because it ensures there are standard baselines each and every NZQA-Registered provider will have to have their programme meet in order to issue the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy.

While this is not an automatic guarantee of the quality of training, it does put all providers on a level playing field.  What they do on the field is up to them, but I personally feel it will lead to some interesting developments and a strengthening of quality in general.

A Clear Pathway

One of the most exciting things to emerge from this is that we have the opportunity to show a clear pathway through our industry.  You might be asking, “What is a pathway?”

A pathway is where a person can follow through a logical trail of programmes, each one more difficult or more specialised than the last, in order to become an expert in their field. In some cases, they may need to complete a lower level programme in order to progress to a higher level.

How can this work in the beauty therapy industry?

From my understanding of our preliminary conversations in the meeting on 7 April 2013, the new New Zealand qualifications in the beauty industry may take shape like this:

Maybe a high school student is interested in beauty therapy but not sure if the industry is for him or her.  There will be an introductory Certificate in Beauty Treatments, sitting around the level 2 mark.  This won’t teach him or her to be an actual beauty therapist, but it will give him or her a taste of some of the simpler treatments and knowledge of our industry.  This won’t be a compulsory qualification to have in order to progress to the next level.

There will be a New Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology, sitting at level 4.  Level 4 is equivalent to some of the lower level subjects in beauty therapy currently.  A student from the introductory certificate mentioned above may discover nail technology is the industry for him or her, so he or she progresses to the New Zealand Certificate in Nail Technology to specialise in that field.

Another option the student might wish to undertake would be the New Zealand Certificate in Makeup Artistry or New Zealand Certificate in Special Effects Makeup, at or around levels 4 and 5.  I personally wasn’t too involved in this area, so I could have my facts a little mixed up, but it was my understanding that there would be a more generalised makeup artistry qualification and also a special effects makeup qualification.  Whether these would be separate fields a student could specialise in, or he or she would need to take one before the other will be fleshed out and discussed later by experts in that industry.

A third option for this student is the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy.  As educators, we agreed that there probably is no longer a need for a New Zealand Certificate in Facial Therapy by itself.  Many providers no longer offer this as a stand-alone qualification, so we discussed that there would be a “core” area in the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy which would be comprised of what would be that certificate, but the student would need to have body therapy and even electrology skills as well in order to fully qualify.

The student undertaking the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy would start with level 4 tasks and knowledge and move into level 5 tasks and knowledge as he or she progressed.  The Diploma would sit at level 5, and it would be one of the main (if not the main) qualification in the “suite”.
Currently, this is where the system stops in most areas.  Congrats, you’re a beauty therapist.  Off you go into the big wonderful world of beauty therapy to find your way on your own.

This hopefully will change.

The details are still somewhat up-in-the-air at present, but from what I understand, and from my conversations with other educators, it appears there may be two to three large post-graduate pathways added to the “suite”.

Our student (now a qualified beauty therapist) could progress to the New Zealand Diploma in Spa Therapies.  Here, he or she would learn more hands-on, manual therapies, adapting Swedish massage skills to deliver a wide range of massage techniques like Shiatsu, Thai massage, aromatherapy massage, and so on.  The student would also deal with hydrotherapy and water treatments, amongst other treatments.  This would sit around levels 5 or 6 on the framework.

He or she could also progress to a more hair-removal-focused area.  This could include things like IPL, advanced electrology, advanced waxing techniques, and so on.  The student could build on his or her existing skills to gain something like a New Zealand Certificate in Advanced Hair Removal Techniques.  (Yes, I just made that name up because I couldn’t think of what it actually would be called.)  This would sit around level 6 as well.

A third option would be something like a New Zealand Diploma in Paramedical Beauty Therapy.  Our student would learn advanced peels, advanced anatomy and physiology (mostly a deeper understanding of the skin), laser skin treatments, and anything bridging the gap between beauty therapists and cosmetic surgeons / dermatologists.  At the level 6 level of things, this programme would allow our student to advance into some pretty spectacular employment opportunities.

Sounds pretty cool, huh?

As providers, some of these higher-level, more-specialised programmes were hard to develop in relative isolation.  With an industry-wide consensus on what these qualifications should look like, providers should then have relative ease in creating a programme to match.

A Chance for Us to Work Together Toward a Better Future for Our Industry

This process gives us, as providers, therapists, employees, owner / operators, importers, product houses, educators, and students to work together to make a more cohesive qualification system.  If we’re all on the same (or very similar) page, we can do great things as an industry.

This is a very rare opportunity to build a strong, consistent educational foundation for our industry in New Zealand, link it internationally, and ensure it remains one of the best beauty therapy qualification suites in the world.

I know I keep saying this, but we need your help as people in the industry (in one way or another), who have gone through the training, to give this process the best outcomes.

Right now, the working groups are still being formed.  The Governance Group has had their first and second meetings, and things should be rolling along nicely.

No one at the National School of Aesthetics has nominated themselves for these groups.  Why?  As a provider, we’re still recovering from the quakes, and none of us felt we could devote the adequate time or resources to the process.  We knew that other providers we work well with were forwarding strong candidates, and we support these people.  We trust them to make the correct decisions in these areas.

But our feedback, like yours, is still considered in the overall process.  Providers like ours have the power to approve or veto at certain stages of the process.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date with how things are progressing with the Beauty TRoQ, HITO and the Association have set up a Web site at http://www.beautytroq.com where you can sign up to receive regular email bulletins and information about how this process is progressing.  You can also give your feedback, whether this is from you individually or from your company or clinic.

Thank You

Thanks for reading.  I hope that these posts have been helpful in explaining this rather large and sometimes overwhelming process.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.

In my last post about the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ), I wrote about the dangers of this process.

In this post, I’ll add more about some of the dangers this process can present to the future of our industry.

The Dangers of This Process, Part Two

Competence versus Confidence

Another part of the “problem”, as perceived from the faction I mentioned in my previous post, is that graduates are not experts by the time they graduate.

Nor should they be experts.  Many other graduates emerge from their programme in many other subject areas the same way.  As one of our colleagues from Elite stated, “There is a big difference between competence and confidence.”

(Just to explain for people who don’t quite understand the weight of that sentence.  Competence means you are able to carry out the treatment or show you know about a subject by doing it or answering a question correctly.  Confidence is your ability to perform the treatment well without a second thought or answer a question without any hesitation.)

As teachers, we can determine competence, but confidence is more difficult.  Some students will graduate both competent and confident in their abilities.  Some students may graduate competent in their abilities and take ten years of working before they are fully confident.  Some students may graduate competent and never feel entirely confident.

In short: confidence cannot be taught.  It varies from person to person.

Some of the vocal minority have suggested tacking on “capstone” units, as used in the hairdressing industry, to the qualifications to boost confidence.  This would mean, after a person finishes beauty therapy training, they may need to complete an additional few years working in a clinic to complete their diploma.

In the beauty therapy industry, we have a higher-than-normal turnover rate.  This seems to sit around 18% or so, which is slightly higher than the overall average of around 17% throughout all industries.

From a funding standpoint – and funding is one area I deal with here at NaSA – implementing “capstone” units could heavily damage funding for beauty therapy education in total.

Tertiary education funding at our level is linked now to three main things:

  • How many students complete their studies (not withdraw), called retention;
  • How many students finish each component of the programme, called course completion;
  • How many students finish the programme and gain the qualification, called qualification completion.

Adding a few years onto gaining a beauty therapy qualification will see:

  • The number of students withdrawing increasing; and
  • The number of students completing all components, especially the “capstone” units, dropping;
  • The number of students gaining the qualification significantly diminishing.

I also predict that the turnover rate will affect the number of people gaining the qualification.

When outcomes drop below a certain threshold, we will see funding taken away from beauty therapy education providers, no matter if the system is apprenticeship-based or classroom-based.

Currently, once a student finishes his or her beauty therapy programme, he or she is qualified.  It is then up to industry or the clinic he or she works at to build that confidence in the way that the owner, manager, or senior therapist feels will best suit that particular therapist.

Under a “capstone” unit-based system, clinics may need to supply someone able to assess against these units, and the beauty therapist would need to meet certain criteria, whether or not those criteria suit the person him- or herself.

To my knowledge, many other countries do not engage in a “capstone” unit-based system once a beauty therapist has finished his or her initial training programme.

Then there is the danger of miscalculation.  What if the graduate is confident but lacks the vision to see that?  What if the person assessing the graduate has such a high standard that no graduate can ever be confident in his or her eyes?

Confidence can be a very subjective thing.

International Qualifications versus Benchmarking the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy Against Other Countries’ Qualifications

When I moved to New Zealand way back in 1996, I could have submitted my US degree to NZQA to have it matched up to New Zealand standards.  The problem with this was that I had heard horror stories from fellow ex-pats (not only American) about how NZQA took too long to make a ruling and usually that ruling stated the degree was not to a New Zealand standard and part of it needed to be retaken at a New Zealand university.  This is amazing for American degrees as American degrees tend to be 4 to 5 years in duration and deal with not only general university-level education but also very in-depth education in your major and minor subject focuses.

This didn’t really hit home until my friend Mary, also an American, told me her story after I told her I was thinking of getting my US degree “recognised” by NZQA.

She said that she had submitted her degree for analysis 8 years earlier – 8 years! – and after a lot of money, stress, tears, and heartbreak, she heard back (finally) that NZQA would not recognise her 5 year American degree.  If she wanted to enter the field she specialised in in New Zealand, she would have to retake some or all of her degree, despite having a valid practicing license and experience from her home state in the USA.

For her, her American degree and the NZQA process saw her lose tens of thousands of dollars (the degree being the most expensive part), several years of her life, her pride, and her dignity.  She couldn’t face spending at least 2 more years at university to get a New Zealand equivalent degree.

Disheartened and disenfranchised, Mary quit New Zealand and returned home.

Determined not to have NZQA interfering in my life any more than I needed, I opted to go to Massey University and complete a New Zealand degree.  Massey were very understanding and helpful, and, by 2002, after 2 years of part-time study, I had completed my New Zealand degree.

This is not a process I want any of my graduates to have to undergo if I can help it, especially in light of personal issues still arising and / or present in our Christchurch-based students post-quakes.

Approximately 10% of NaSA graduates go overseas.  They should have qualifications that are easily recognised and “truly transportable” as ITEC says. They shouldn’t have the hassle Mary and I, as well as many others, have had with our qualifications.

In July 2012, providers, the Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation (HITO), NZQA and industry had a preliminary meeting about the TRoQ and the future of New Zealand qualifications. I ended up having a quite heated argument with a member of the vocal minority and the NZQA representative about international qualifications.

The vocal person does not, to my knowledge, hold any international qualifications.  Nor does she even hold New Zealand beauty therapy qualifications, as far as I recall.  But she has been very vocal in wanting international qualifications out of New Zealand, as well as making her opinion quite clear that she wants providers out of beauty therapy education.

I responded that, with about 10% of our graduates going to work overseas, international qualifications were important.  This process, I countered, is not about my ego, or her ego, or anyone’s ego; it’s about making the best system for our industry.  The story I told you here about Mary and me was relayed again.  And while the NZQA representative had a smirk on her face, I passionately drove my point home that, having been through this myself, I am using my experiences to fight for the rights of my students and my graduates.  Isn’t that what this whole exercise is for?  For industry and students and graduates to get the best opportunities to achieve, succeed, and work, no matter where in the world they choose to work?

(The NZQA representative lost the smirk, by the way, as I pointed out that “must-fit-inside-the-box” bureaucracy like their organisation is so fond of is part of the problem.)

Erica Cummings, CEO of HITO, stepped in and explained that HITO was in the process of benchmarking New Zealand qualifications (currently National Certificates in Beauty Services) against other countries’ qualifications.  Only a handful of agreements exist between New Zealand and other countries, and while I personally admire Erica and HITO for undertaking such an ambitious project that will take quite a long time and a lot of resources to complete, and even more work to maintain, I can’t help but wonder again: “Why are we reinventing the wheel?”

International governing bodies, like ITEC and CIDESCO, are already well-established in many countries around the world.  ITEC has 44 countries listed on its Web site’s homepage, and CIDESCO has 34 countries listed in its education section.  These qualifications are an industry standard in countries and areas like the United Kingdom, Australia, most (if not all) of Europe, China, Japan, and the United States, and recognition of the brands (for lack of a better word) makes this an obvious choice of qualification for graduates who want to travel with their skills.

Beauty therapy in New Zealand started by teaching from syllabuses like ITEC’s and CIDESCO’s, and these international qualification systems are deeply embedded in not only our teaching programme but also teaching programmes throughout New Zealand and the world.

We need to give our students and our graduates the best chance of success not only in New Zealand but also around the globe.  Tourists and visitors coming to New Zealand should experience the same or better beauty therapy treatment in our country.  Employers overseas should find our graduates have the same or better beauty therapy skills than their home country’s graduates.  Our graduates need to be internationally competitive in an era of increasing global migration and connectivity.

Why are some trying to move New Zealand qualifications away from the increasing trend of moving towards each other?

Keeping the Level the Same versus Reducing the Level of Training

Beauty therapy training (to make someone a fully qualified beauty therapist) is pegged at levels 4 and 5 on the NZQF. It mostly sits at level 5.  Level 5 is equivalent to the first year of a Bachelor’s Degree.

In my 17 years in the industry, this has been the status quo.  I am sure it goes back further than that.

Again, the vocal minority want this “dumbed down” to levels 3 and 4.  To be honest, for some, this all relates to funding; they are only approved for funding to level 4, and they currently offer very little beauty therapy training but want to expand into it greatly, so why not drag the whole system down to that level to suit their needs?

Catherine Wouters, our Principal, and I had an in-depth conversation about levels.  She feels that the level of training is accurate and adequate.  Quite a few concepts in anatomy and physiology – her speciality – are quite comfortable at level 5 (and, she even reckons that some of it belongs at level 6).

In our meeting on 7 April 2013, education providers and industry identified that beauty therapy should stay at levels 4 and 5, with one or more post-graduate options sitting at levels 5 and 6.  These post-graduate options will be something I’ll talk about in my next post.

Back to levels:  The New Zealand Government has made it their mandate that more young people are qualified to level 4 or above.  The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), responsible for subsidy funding, even approached us with the offer to extend our cap for the foreseeable future because the National School of Aesthetics does such a great job at meeting this mandate.

So why are we trying to “dumb down” qualifications the Government is praising us for?  Are we willing to sacrifice meeting the Government’s vision so one organisation (who currently offers little to no beauty therapy training) can try to take over training and mould it to their vision of what beauty therapy training should be?

As I keep asking, “Why are we reinventing the wheel?” Also: “If it isn’t broken, why are we trying to fix it?”

Issues like these are why your voice, as industry, students, graduates, employers, and so on, is very important throughout this process.

In my next post, I’ll talk about The Opportunities This Process Brings.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.

In my last post about the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ), I wrote about how qualifications in New Zealand are changing.

In this post and the next, I’d like to tell you about some of the dangers this process can present to the future of our industry.

The Dangers of This Process

Many attendees at the 7 April 2013 TRoQ meeting in Wellington agreed that New Zealand produces amongst the top beauty therapists in the world. This is a statement repeated by international examiners, international visitors, and others in our industry.

This proves that, for the most part, what we teach in New Zealand and how we teach it is working, and it is working very, very well. Many other countries are envious of our high standard, and they look to us for inspiration and best practice in beauty therapy education.

At the aforementioned meeting, many of us came to the conclusion that the vast majority of what we teach is needed, and we teach it well. There are minor areas that need adjustment, inclusion or exclusion, but overall, what we teach:

  • Meets or exceeds international benchmarks and standards in beauty therapy; and
  • Is similar to systems and education offered throughout the world; and
  • Is transferable between many countries throughout the world.

What we have now, including international qualifications like ITEC and CIDESCO, enables our graduates to travel with their qualifications without needing further training. ITEC and CIDESCO especially are qualifications that are “truly transportable”, as ITEC likes to put it.

But some factions in our industry see this process as a blank slate, on which we can wipe everything that we do away, and start afresh. An even smaller (but somewhat vocal) minority want to radically change the way we deliver and teach beauty therapy.

In short, I’m asking: “Why do we need to reinvent the wheel, especially if we have the same style of wheels but the best wheels in the world?” Especially when “our wheel” gets us to where we need to go with very little hassle.

A seemingly very vocal minority who would very much benefit from changes have proposed:

  • Eliminating or greatly reducing the role of beauty therapy education providers and introducing apprenticeships as a way (or the main way) to complete a beauty therapy qualification.
  • Demand students who have completed their training complete an additional group of “capstone” units to gain confidence and before their qualification can be awarded.
  • Eliminating international qualifications and establishing benchmarks amongst other countries’ qualifications ourselves against our qualifications.

Apprenticeships versus In-Class Training

Obviously, we providers want to keep training in-class. Some of the things I may say in this section may sound self-serving, but there are industry people out there who also agree with our stance. I’ll bring some of their views into this conversation as well.

To my knowledge, most countries around the world teach beauty therapy at a training provider like ours. From what I have heard from my colleagues in Australia, where apprenticeships are one option of training on gaining a beauty therapy qualification, apprenticeships are not well-suited for our industry. According to my sources in Australia, beauty therapy apprentices tend to have lower quality skills and lack in-depth knowledge that is required to be successful in our industry.

One of my big worries with shifting to an apprenticeship system is consistency.

Currently, there are 7 tutors at the National School of Aesthetics, dealing with approximately 60 to 70 students at any one given time. Some of these tutors deal with specific subjects, like Anatomy and Physiology or Electrology. The training for each and every one of these students receives is of the same or extremely similar standard.

As a team of professional teachers, they are equipped with the most modern teaching methods to help students achieve and succeed. They have a standard of assessment, and they are moderated so that assessment outcomes should be consistent among different students and classes.

Let’s say there’s a shift to the apprenticeship model in beauty therapy training in New Zealand. This means there needs to be 60 to 70 clinics to take one student each in Christchurch. Each of these clinics will have to devote 1 person or more to teaching each student everything from waxing to electrolysis in order to qualify, even if the clinic doesn’t offer those treatments. This means that, potentially, there could be 60 to 70 apprentices out there with varying levels of training, and 60 to 70 clinic employees or owners needing to act as teacher, assessor, and moderator of their own activities. In addition to the employee’s typical duties, he or she will need to devote time to training an apprentice and the paperwork that goes with it, and he or she will need to ensure he or she is competent in his or her delivery of all aspects of education.

While we as an industry will have guarantees that the standard should be consistent, there should be that slight worry that the standard is consistent.

Having dealt with NZQA and industry-based unit standard assessment moderation in the past, I can tell you that the process, at the time, was not consistent. From what I heard at the meeting on 7 April 2013 from fellow educators, the process is still not very consistent.

Another worry that our industry colleagues have brought to our attention is client privacy and the negative financial impact an apprentice could have on the clinic.

Many clinics in New Zealand are either owned and operated by one person, or have a very small team.

Many beauty therapy treatments, such as body massage, facials, electrolysis and waxing, require client privacy in a cubicle or room with only the therapist and the client present. This is different from hairdressing where the client is out in the open with another clients and several hairdressers, as there is very little need for client privacy or to protect the client’s modesty, as there is in beauty therapy.

One clinic owner at our 7 April 2013 meeting made the following case:

She employs two other beauty therapists alongside her, but out of the team, she is the most qualified and most experienced of the three.

If apprenticeships came in, she felt she would need to supervise and teach the apprentice.

In intimate treatments such as Brazilian Waxing and body massage, there would be an extra person in the room, which many clients may have issues with. In addition, this extra person would be talking and giving guidance through treatments to the apprentice, which may also affect the quality of the treatment.

She stated that she would be losing money as her clinic brought in various higher-end clients, and they paid a premium price to have that clinic perform their treatments.

With an apprentice in the room and performing the treatments, she would need to charge a significantly lower rate, which could not only affect her clients but also her overall client base.

In addition, apprenticeships would also take longer to complete than the standard 1-year training currently on offer. Clinics and industry owners have indicated, quite strongly, that the 1-year training regime should stay. Whether the minority wanting apprenticeships will listen remains to be seen.

In my next post, I’ll continue to talk about The Dangers of This Process.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.

In my last post about the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ), I wrote about why change was needed for New Zealand qualifications.

In this post, I’d like to tell you about how those qualifications are changing.

How Are Qualifications Changing?

The Government has decided that the system as it was all very complex and very confusing.

Step 1

The first step they took was to consolidate the qualifications “warehouses” into one single system called the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. It no longer matters who owns the qualification; it is listed on the NZQF.

Step 2

The second step was to change what a qualification was. Prior to this review, the qualification and programme were the same things. The National School of Aesthetics had a qualification called the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, and that was what students studied, were assessed against, and were given if they passed all the sections of the qualification.

This is no longer to be this way. The qualification has been separated from the studying part. The qualification, the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, will tell employers, students, industry, and the wider community what someone holding the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics should be able to do as a beauty therapist: in this case, perform things like manicure and pedicure, Swedish body massage, facials, waxing, and so on, to an industry-acceptable standard, and hold the relevant knowledge to perform these safely and correctly. The training that person undertook to gain the qualification was now called the programme.

In short: The programme and the qualification used to be one thing but now are two separate things. Think of the programme as all the studying, all the practice, all the hard work and learning you have to do to get the piece of paper called the qualification. That lovely piece of paper you get to hang on your wall!

Step 3

The third step is to eliminate the duplication by making providers and industry working together to create a New Zealand-wide “suite” of qualifications.

Under the new system, the National School of Aesthetics Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics, the Elite Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and all of those 65 qualifications – pieces of paper on the wall – will eventually cease to exist.

They will be replaced by a New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy.

The New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and all the other qualifications we will have in this new “suite” (sounds plush and posh, doesn’t it?), will be the benchmark for all registered providers in New Zealand. It will define what the average and basic skills a beauty therapist should be able to perform and the knowledge he or she should hold to get that piece of paper.

Industry like you, providers like us, and other people who know about our industry are all invited to work on this. This is the stage we are at currently.

One thing that providers and industry determined at our meeting in Wellington on 7 April 2013 was that what we essentially teach to qualify a person as a beauty therapist does not change a great deal from provider to provider. The quality might be different, a few bits and pieces may be different, and some of us may teach more modern or more antiquated methods or equipment here or there, but for the most part, we teach pretty similar things.

That’s a great thing. Why? It gives us a really solid foundation to build on.

For example: Will vacuum suction stay as a treatment a beauty therapist needs to know? Maybe. Maybe not. But, someone said, vacuum suction uses essentially the same techniques as microdermabrasion, so maybe it should stay. And this is the type of discussion, a really good, in-depth discussion we found ourselves having.

We really encourage you to be a part of the conversation, and to help our industry develop the qualifications we will have for the next few years or so. Once a period of time elapses, the qualification “suite” is reviewed again, although, if it is working, the review should not be so in-depth.

The New Zealand Qualifications Are Set-Up. Now What?

Providers then take their programmes (the teaching) and “align” it to the new qualification.

What this means is that the qualification will say what a beauty therapist should be expected to do as a result of holding that qualification.

As a provider, we then adapt or change our programme to make sure we meet those criteria.

NZQA have said that, if the system seems to work for the most part now, the changes we as providers will have to make will be minimal.

NZQA reviews our programme to ensure it meets the criteria of the New Zealand Diploma in Beauty Therapy, and, once approved, the National School of Aesthetics Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics eventually disappears as its own qualification.

In my next post, I’ll talk about The Dangers of This Process.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.

Our industry is facing one of its largest changes in education in New Zealand to date.

It sounds rather drastic, but it is very true, and it should be a positive thing for our industry.

Many in our industry have indicated they were interested in more information on the Targeted Review of Qualifications (TRoQ) process and how it affects our industry and qualifications.

I’ll be discussing this over the space of a week or so, in plain (hopefully) English, to help our local beauty therapy industry understand these changes and how they affect all of us.

Some Words to Familiarise Yourself With Before We Start

  • NZQA:  The New Zealand Qualifications Authority
  • Qualification:  The award you gain at the end of your training in a programme
  • Programme:  The studying, class time, and assessments you undergo to determine if you are able to be qualified.  (We sometimes use the word Course for this as well.)
  • Provider:  The organisation doing the training in the programme leading to the qualification.  Sometimes called a PTE or TEO or Polytechnic or ITP, depending on who owns them.

There’s a lot of information to take in about this process, so I’ve broken up the information I have into several post for you to read over the next week or so.

Why Do We Need Change?

A few years ago, the current New Zealand Government determined that our qualifications system was too complex.  There were two qualifications “warehouses”: the National Qualifications Framework, made up of National Certificates and National Diplomas (Government-owned); and the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications, comprised of “local” (provider-created) certificates and diplomas.

While NZQA was checking the validity of these qualifications in an education context, there was little, if any, benchmarking or comparing similarities and differences between qualifications.  For example, how similar or different was the content of one diploma in beauty therapy to another?

In beauty therapy alone, we have around 65 qualifications held by 19 providers in New Zealand in 2009.  Of these 65 qualifications, at least 15 are diploma level (level 5 or above).

For example:  The National School of Aesthetics has an NZQA-Approved qualification called the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics.  Elite International School of Beauty and Spa Therapies has an NZQA-Approved qualification called the Diploma in Beauty Therapy.  These are two separate diplomas with the same or similar content, offering the same international diplomas.

Repeat this scenario between around 20 beauty therapy providers, and problems emerge.

In short, there is a lot of duplication in the system.

The reason for this is because providers (like us) want control of our content.  We don’t want to have a committee that meets every 5 years or so to slog through a year or so of red tape to update a syllabus, then have to wait another few years or more for errors to be corrected.

Being in control of our own content means we can make minor changes as and when needed.

The big problem with the system as it was is that quite a few of those qualifications offer the same or similar training.  For example, about half of those qualifications teach a person to become a full beauty therapist.  But the definition of a “beauty therapist” can change from provider to provider, too.

The Government was growing frustrated with some graduates emerging with qualifications (not only in beauty therapy) without the skills to match to gain employment in the industry.  And, fair enough, too.  You and I and average Joe Taxpayer sink a great deal of money into training each and every person, and we (as well as the student and our industry) should be able to get a good return on our investment, right?

Yes, we should!

In my next post, I’ll talk about How the Qualifications Are Changing.

Scott Fack is the Director of Operations at the National School of Aesthetics. He remains one of the beauty therapy education industry’s leaders in compliance requirements and quality management systems. The information supplied in this blog entry is his point-of-view of the Targeted Review of Qualifications for beauty therapy.