Monthly Archives: December 2009

You Get What You Pay For

I have heard, moreso recently than in previous years, that an applicant has decided to enrol at another provider offering beauty therapy because it is less expensive than the National School of Aesthetics.  Now, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I personally would pick a provider who could offer me an excellent education and more individual attention than worry about price.  (See my blog “Why Researching a School is Important” for more detail about how I feel I can talk about this subject comfortably.)

Let’s look at this logically.

Our Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics is, in 2010, $6,999.00.  It’s been this price for nearly a decade at this point in time, despite inflation rising 30% in that period of time.  And, we only take 10 students per class.  This means, for argument’s sake, an individual pays $5.83 per hour.  In addition, theoretically, 1 out of every 10 hours is spent on each individual’s training.  This means each individual attending our course gains 120 hours at least focused on them and their studies in each year.

Let’s look at another provider.

Their equivalent to our Diploma in Beauty Therapy is approximately $6,000.00.  They take about 18 students per class.  This means an individual pays $5 per hour but 1 in every 18 hours is spent on each individual’s training.  This means each individual attending that course gains 66.7 hours at least focused on them and their studies each year, which becomes 55.6% of the time we spend with each student.

Even if they take 16 per class, that’s still 75 hours focused on each student.  That’s 62.5% of the time we spend with each student.

This, to me, is false economy.  Sure, a person attending that provider is saving $1,000 or so (overall, 83 cents per hour), but that person is also getting a little over half the individualised attention a student of ours gets.

The question comes down to this:  Do you want to be the best you can be?

If you answered “yes” to this, then you should pick the course that offers you the best chance of this by offering you more individualised tuition.

What about a provider offering a two year programme?

Well, beauty therapy (worldwide) is usually taught in a year.  When some public providers got their hands on beauty therapy back in the late 1990s, the “bums-on-seats” model of training was big (the longer the student attended, the more funding the provider received from the Government), so the move was to make beauty therapy some hulk of a course.

(As both Dr. Noel Turner, our CEO, and I were involved in the unit standard and national qualifications in beauty therapy processes, and I have been involved with NaSA for nearly 14 years now, I believe I can safely say this.  There were people in that process who wanted to make beauty therapy out to be something it wasn’t.)

We, and most other private beauty therapy providers who started off training beauty therapists in New Zealand, did not go down this track.

Again, the two year programme is false economy.  Why?  Well, why spend two years training for something that should take a year?  That means that second year is spent in a classroom instead of out in the industry earning money or in the classroom with us gaining another qualification (Diploma in Spa Therapies, let’s say) to help you earn more money than a beauty therapist because you have a wider set of skills.  (This improves your employment opportunities as well.)

What about a provider who is more expensive? Are they more prestigious?

Again, this comes down to number-crunching.  Their equivalent to our Diploma in Beauty Therapy is approximately $11,500.00.  They take about 16 students per class.  This means an individual pays $9.58 per hour but 1 in every 16 hours is spent on each individual’s training.  This means each individual attending that course gains 75 hours at least focused on them and their studies each year.

When the Government announced it would fully subsidise our students to the same level Government-run providers would be funded back in 2000, private training establishments (PTEs) like ours were expected to drop our course prices to reflect this.  Of course, NaSA was one of the only (if not the only) beauty therapy PTE around at the time that dropped the price instead of pocketing the extra money; thus why our course went from $9,999.00 to $6,999.00 from one year to the next.

So an individual attending the more expensive beauty therapy course pays $3.75 more per hour studying with that provider yet receives 62.5% of the individualised attention one would get with us.  Again, this is false economy.

Overall, I hope I’ve provided you, the reader, with some pretty compelling reasons why the National School of Aesthetics is poised to be your best choice for beauty therapy training.  We are an honest PTE with our students’ successes in mind when we train them.

If you want more facts and figures about NaSA, please feel free to visit our “The Obvious Choice” page on our Web site.

As always, if you have any questions or would like further information on the National School of Aesthetics and the training we offer, please feel free to contact us, 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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Reduction in Courses Offered in 2010 and Funding

We have had a few emails from prospective students about the cuts in courses like our Certificate in Aesthetics for 2010, so I felt it adequate to discuss this a little bit more in our blog to help outline the reasons why these sorts of cuts have had to happen.
Incidentally, we received a letter from the Tertiary Education Commission yesterday with regards to this very matter — all providers would have received something similar — so I will take this opportunity to quote from TEC’s letter to support our stance.

As many of us are aware, not only New Zealand but also many countries around the world experienced an economic downturn over the last year or so.  During this time, governments like ours have faced a downturn in revenue and upturn in expenditure.  This has led to some tough choices in tertiary education funding, and, indeed, in funding for various different key areas such as health, education and so on.

TEC explains, in their letter dated 1 December 2009, “overall funding levels for tertiary education are constrained, and this is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future”.  They add, “The Government [has indicated funding will be] unlikely to change significantly in the current financial climate” and “while there are signals that the recession is coming to an end, this is unlikely to translate into additional money for the Government for some years.  Therefore the need to control costs and enrolments across the tertiary education sector is paramount.”

In light of this, TEC has urged all tertiary education providers to reduce their enrolments into a narrow band between 97% and 103% of their funding allocation. 

In late 2008, before the full brunt of the economic downturn was known, TEC approved our 2009 Plan (the agreement between TEC and us that determines our funding) at 140% of our allocation.  While we did have the opportunity to reach this level — and it is important to note, if a provider goes above 100% of their funding allocation, they only receive 100% and not a penny more — the Board of Directors decided to keep levels comfortable but manageable; this meant in 2009 we hit around the 115% mark.

This year, in discussions with TEC about our 2010 Plan, they pointed out that while they approved 140% in our 2009 Plan, they didn’t approve going to that level (a cop-out in my humble opinion — you either approve something or you don’t — but that’s a subject of another blog entirely).  In light of this, TEC required all providers over 103% to make moves down to that level in 2010 and the future.

While TEC does not fund above 100%, the Student Loan system remains available for those students above that 100%.  The more students above that 100%, the more burden the Student Loan system faces.  (I have another opinion about how to fix the Student Loan system; alas, that’s the subject of yet another blog all together.)

Therefore, our 2010 Plan needed to reflect an earnest move towards that 103%.  This meant course like the Certificate in Aesthetics, offered in 2009, could not go ahead in 2010 as they were deemed “not vital”.  Our full time courses, such as the Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Applied Aesthetics and Diploma in Spa Therapies, were more vital, and funding was allocated to those courses as our first priorities.

TEC has hinted the Government will be moving to a more limited Government-funded and higher student-funded system in 2011, and this system may have more flexibility in what providers like ours can and can’t offer course-wise.  We obviously await to hear news of how this system will work, especially in light that providers like ours have not been able to raise their fees for the last 10 years or so, while inflation has increased by 30% in that time.

In the meantime, we apologise for any inconvenience this causes prospective students interested in different course options with us, and we encourage those prospective students to contact us to see if there are any other options we can offer them that may help them achieve their goals.

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.

The Difference Between Make-Up Artistry and Beauty Therapy

We sometimes receive enquiries about makeup artistry courses, and there’s a perception amongst some people out there that makeup artistry and beauty therapy are interchangeable terms; however, there are differences between what the two industries entail, and, while they are related, they are not the same.
Makeup artistry involves covering up skin blemishes and correcting imbalances in facial structure through using makeup.  A good makeup artistry course will cover subjects like makeup for special occasions, film, TV, catwalk and modeling.  It also includes prosthetic work, like wounds, scars, fantasy and science fiction work, along with wigs and other facial hair.  If you are interested in this sort of field, the Design and Arts College of New Zealand offer a Certificate of Makeup Design and Production.

Beauty therapy involves quite a few different subjects, but whereas makeup artistry looks to cover up skin blemishes, the facial therapy aspect of beauty therapy seeks to correct those blemishes through the use of manual (using one’s hands), electronic, chemical or a combination of two or more methods, therapies.  While our students do learn makeup, this is a small component of the course — approximately 50 hours out of 1200 hours in total, or 4% of the course — and is strictly limited to day-to-day makeup, makeup for some special occasions and night-time makeup.  The primary focus of beauty therapy is on holistic treatment.

Hopefully this has shed a little more light on the difference between makeup artistry and beauty therapy, but, as always, if you have any further questions, as always, feel free to contact us during our office hours, and we will be more than happy to assist.

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.

Examination Time

I apologise for the delay in getting out any blogs last week, but those of you who are familiar with the school know we staff members pretty much focus on one thing during final examination time: getting the results in, marking final exam papers, collating results and sending out the final tallies for all students finishing their course for the year.

Luckily, this year our February 2009 students (that’s to say, students who have started in February 2009) have been quite straight-forward to figure out their results.  Sometimes we have a small group of students who have not made the grade in one area (i.e. Electrology), and I have to go through their results by hand to not only double-check but also see if they have passed any other sections.  As you could imagine, this is a very time-consuming task, and I’m happy to say I haven’t had to do that for any of our February 2009 students.

Many things make me proud to be involved with the National School of Aesthetics, but one particular event is the turn-around time on marking examinations and sending out results.  For example, this year, graduating students sat their final examination theory papers on Friday, 27 November 2009.  They finished this around 2 PM.  By 6 PM on the same day, we had marked, moderated and, in some cases, double-moderated all the examination papers, entered them in our grading programme, and knew pretty much where all the students were at.

By Monday morning (30 November 2009), all the results had been checked over, all the medical aegrotat passes had been entered and double-checked and the report card/transcript-type report had been printed out.  And, by about 1 PM, all the results were neatly tucked in envelopes addressed to their respective students and put into the mail bag.  Those results should be to the students by Friday, at latest.

We wouldn’t be able to do this if it wasn’t for our wonderful team putting in a lot of extra effort to mark papers, collate results, moderate, et cetera.  And we are extremely thankful for such a great team who put in that extra effort to ensure our students know where they stand results-wise.

Students who have studied in tertiary education before would know this turn-around is one of the quickest in the country, and, hopefully appreciate it.  We at NaSA were all students once and know how nerve-wrecking it is to wait for results, so, as with a lot of things we do, we like to let students know as soon as possible.

This is another of the many reasons why the National School of Aesthetics remains a leader in the beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies training field in New Zealand.

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.