The Opportunities This Process Brings

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.

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