Category Archives: Spa Therapies

Why Recognised and Approved Training is Important

NaSA students perform manicures on one another
NaSA students perform manicures on one another. Source: Christchurch Press

Thursday night, 20/20 reported on the incidence of medical issues arising from poor hygiene and sterlisation (amongst other things) in some clinics in the Auckland region.  It’s interesting to note that some (if not all) of these nail bars seemed to be run in malls.  I would wager that some of the operators did not hold recognised qualifications.

If you didn’t see the report, you can find it here: http://tvnz.co.nz/20-20-news/nailed-video-6001303

At The National School of Aesthetics, we have pushed and continue to push for high standards in the beauty therapy industry.  These standards are apparent in appearance and uniform, and they extend to knowledge in anatomy and physiology, hygiene and sterilisation, record-keeping, diseases and disorders, contraindications, and so on.  We’ve built our nearly 30 year reputation through strong training and education.

In the early 2000s, the Tertiary Education Commission granted us additional funding to properly train nail technicians for inclusion in the industry.  We even ran Recognition of Prior Learning programmes to help nail technicians with non-NZQA-Approved nail technology qualifications upgrade to our NZQA-Approved Certificate in Nail Technology.  The uptake on the latter was poor, and this led to many nail technicians out there offering treatments without an NZQA-Approved qualification.

Despite pushing these standards, some potential students do not see the value in our 15 week NZQA-Approved Certificate in Nail Technology and decide to undertake a non-NZQA-Approved short nail technology course, thinking the less time they spend in a classroom, the better.  But graduates from these short, non-approved nail technology courses most likely do not hold the same level of competence in their skills or knowledge, especially in anatomy and physiology, diseases and disorders, or hygiene and sterilisation as our graduates do.  And therein lies the problem.

How can we help educate the general public about the importance of proper training and NZQA-recognised qualifications?

  • We can educate the general public about the importance of seeing an NZQA-Approved programme’s certificate or diploma hanging on the wall in the clinic or asking the nail technician or beauty therapist if he or she qualified through an NZQA-Registered provider, gaining an NZQA-Approved programme’s certificate or diploma.
  • We can explain that NZQA-Registered tertiary education organisations go through a rigorous process to gain registration and must go through stringent processes to maintain registration with NZQA.  Non-registered TEOs do not go through this process and most times have no outside monitoring to ensure they meet local and national guidelines.
  • We can point out that an NZQA-Approved programme goes through a very thorough process, including reviews by industry experts and industry in general, before being approved.  Non-registered TEOs usually are not moderated and many times have no outside input to ensure the best standards for their students and graduates are available and enforced.
  • We can keep providing the old adages that, “You get what you pay for,” and “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
  • We can attempt to curb the public’s behaviour of supporting clinics hiring non-qualified nail technicians or beauty therapists through an education campaign.
  • We can try to convince potential nail technicians and beauty therapists that they should train through an NZQA-Registered tertiary education organisation and gain an NZQA-Approved qualification.

As an industry, we have been threatened with licensing and other compliance measures that will add more time and effort for the clinic owner, many of who are sole owner-operators, to meet bureaucratic requirements.  This will mean less time to have appointments and make money, and more time to fill out paperwork and spend money on meeting compliance measures.  But maybe this is what the industry needs to protect the general public and properly-trained nail technicians and beauty therapists from the rogues and cowboy operators out there.

The choice is ours as an industry to make.

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.

2014 Interview Changes for NaSA Courses

In my last post about Application and Interview Changes, I wrote about the application changes happening at NaSA for 2014 courses.  In this post, I’ll continue this by writing about changes in the interview process for 2014.

Changes in the Interview Process

As I explained in my last post, the interview process suited the era in which it was made, but, with the Web evolving to the point of hosting video without a problem and with a sizeable chunk of our applicants based out-of-town, we needed to evolve our own process to reflect the times.

Our previous interview process involved a group of applicants coming in to the school when most of it, especially the multimedia suite, was free.  These applicants would have a tour, be given a printed copy of the Student Handbook, experience an hour-long interview presentation given in a lecture style, and then wait for their individual interview with one or two members of the NaSA team.  This was fairly rigid and inflexible, not only for our applicants but also for our team.

Two of the decisions we made immediately made things easier for the applicant and us.

The applicant would download and read the Student Handbook from our Web site This saves us time and resources in printing and collating the handbook.  This lets the applicant read the handbook on-demand from the comfort of their own home.  And, it saves several trees (and is better for the environment) in the process.

The applicant would view the Interview Presentation on our Web site.  Again, this move is more convenient for applicants as they can watch the presentation where they want, when they want, and as many times as they want.  This also makes it more convenient for applicants living out of town.

We still can show applicants around the campus as a part of their individual interview.

Part of this change will also see the individual interview part expanded.  Applicants will now meet with a NaSA team member (most likely Jacqui) for a longer one-on-one interview to discuss the applicant’s goals and aspirations while discussing their background and skills in more depth with us.

And the best thing about this change is it is flexible.  Individual interviews will be able to be scheduled during  a greater range of times and dates than previously on offer.

We hope these changes will allow greater access for applicants to our courses and make the process easier for them.  As always, we welcome your feedback via the Contact the National School of Aesthetics page on our Web site.

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.

2014 Application Changes for NaSA Courses

In my last post, I wrote about a major change at the National School of Aesthetics in 2014 by offering a concurrent Diploma in Beauty Therapy and Certificate in Nail Technology course.  Now that we’ve updated our Web site with a fresh new look and uploaded our 2014 course information pack, I can write a little more about other changes at the National School of Aesthetics.  In this post, I’ll cover changes to application and interview requirements for 2014.

Two of the strengths our NZQA External Evaluation and Review report pointed out to us were our interest in each individual student applying with NaSA to determine their goals and aspirations and our ability to help students achieve and succeed, no matter what their educational background.  Both of these areas are very important to us.

Over the years, we have mostly decreased the evidence we need submitted with the application.  Even though we have done this, we recently came to the conclusion that all this information could be hindering some otherwise capable applicants from applying.

The interview process had grown slightly cumbersome and rigid.  We could only hold interview presentations on certain days at certain times due to our timetable, and, to make it worth our while and comfortable for applicants, we needed a few applicants at any given time to make it work.  While the interview process we had worked while the World Wide Web was in its infancy, now it would be hard-pressed to find an applicant who didn’t know what the Web was or how to access it.

Jacqui, Noel, Don and I had several conversations on ways to make applications and interviews easier and shift emphasis away from the application and interview parts and more focus on enrolment as the main event in the process while maintaining our focus on the individual applicant throughout the process.  Here’s what we emerged with:

Changes in the Application Process

Our previous application process involved a prospective student turning in several different submissions along with their application form, like a Curriculum Vitae, written references, and so on.  While these helped us sometimes understand an applicant and their background in many circumstances, we found that in some other circumstances, they did not represent the applicant, or gave us a small snapshot of the applicant, focussing on areas other than what would shine as their strengths in the course.

In addition, we ask various questions in the individual interview, which seemed to double-up these requirements.

We want to reduce barriers for our applicants to make the process easier for them to gain access to education.  There is a risk in doing this for some applicants (those who do not research the industry and the course, especially, as these people tend to think beauty therapy and nail technology will be easy; they aren’t), but no matter how many or few requirements we have, we will get the small minority who will do this nonetheless.  So, to reduce the barriers for the vast majority of good applicants is a better thing for the whole.

In 2014, applicants will need to submit the completed application form, including the declaration on any medical / learning / cognitive / mental conditions.  Most, if not all, of our applicants 20 and under should have a Record of Learning with NZQA (NCEA is reported on this).

If an applicant does not have any qualifications listed on NZQA’s Record of Learning site, then we’ll ask the applicant to provide these to us.

We need to determine all applicants can demonstrate the ability to achieve and succeed while studying with us, so the prior learning or applicable experience requirements still apply.

While the process is easier, we still respectfully ask applicants not to apply if they are unsure on whether this is the course or industry for them, but to talk to us first.  One of the major changes is that we are now charging applicants who apply but do not take their application further, or who decide after the interview that they will not contact us back, or in other scenarios as well.  When an applicant submits an application, this creates more work for us than if a prospective applicant came to us to speak with us about the course and industry first.  We are funded mostly through taxpayers’ money, and the less wastage there is, the more money we can pump into education and our students’ training.

But, overall, our new application process is a lot easier for applicants than the previous requirements.

In my next post, I’ll talk about Changes in Interviews for 2014.

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.

Our NZQA Review Results: Yet More Proof The National School of Aesthetics is One of New Zealand’s Best Beauty Training Providers

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is required to review all New Zealand tertiary-level education providers, including Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) and Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) but excluding universities, through an External Evaluation and Review (EER).  In our 2013 EER, NZQA judged us “highly confident in educational outcomes” and “highly confident in the capability of self-assessment”.  This put us in the highest grouping of tertiary education organisations in New Zealand.

In their report, downloadable from the National School of Aesthetics provider page on the NZQA Web site in the next few days, NZQA said:

  • “High employment outcomes are achieved.”
  • “NaSA has both excellent resources and staff.”
  • “The staff members are a cohesive team, willingly sharing resources and teaching approaches.”
  • “The school benefits from high levels of involvement of its co-founders, whose passion and commitment serve as the glue binding the different parts together.”
  • “NaSA … has emerged [from the quakes]  as a resourceful, experienced and supportive [school].”
  • “NaSA consciously strives for high standards of academic achievement.  … The students recognise this and have succeeded in achieving high standards over a number of years.”
  • “[NaSA’s] primary goal is to produce graduates ready for the workplace.”
  • “The suitability of NaSA’s graduates for immediate employment in clinics was attested by a number of clinics contacted…  A typical response was that a clinic has employed many graduates from a range of [education] providers, yet prefers NaSA’s graduates as they have better knowledge and are more likely to have international qualifications.”
  • “The students are also conscious of the very good reputation of NaSA and frequently cited this as the reason why they chose the school.”
  • “NaSA strengthens the value of the outcomes by maintaining ongoing relationships with the graduates and the clinics in which they are employed.”
  • “Typical of the feedback from the clinics was the comment from one owner who visited other training providers in her job and, ‘noticed the quality of workmanship from students and how NaSA far surpasses all of these!  NaSA has a fantastic way of approaching the client, the skin and body.’”
  • “The management team at NaSA has wide experience of the industry.  The programmes are focussed on the needs of the learners, clarifying these in the interviews that take place before the students enrol.”
  • “The new premises are luxurious … providing a range of modern machines along with modern techniques…  In this way and others, NaSA matches its courses to the needs of the industry.”
  • “NaSA benefits from an experienced, stable and well-qualified teaching staff.”
  • “…The teaching is highly effective at NaSA… The relationships between the students and tutors are positive, and [the students] expressed how helpful the tutors are.”
  • “NaSA provides effective support to the students… ”
  • “Both ITEC and CIDESCO praise the high standards at NaSA.  The CIDESCO examiner’s report in December 2012 stated that, ‘The school has a lovely warm environment with dedicated staff — all conducive to nurturing education and building a solid foundation.’”

NZQA rates us as one of the top beauty therapy providers in New Zealand, and supports this by interviewing students, graduates, clinics, and industry.  Our own research has shown, as of 1 August 2013, there are only 2 other tertiary education organisations (TEOs) offering beauty therapy training in New Zealand that NZQA has rated as “highly confident” in both educational outcomes and capacity of self-assessment.

In the South Island, we appear to be the only TEO that NZQA has rated as “highly confident” in both educational outcomes and capacity of self-assessment.

The National School of Aesthetics consistently and continually demonstrates our commitment to producing a high standard of education and an excellent standard of graduates for the beauty therapy, nail technology, and spa therapies industries.

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.

Our New Web Site

I admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. I’m sorry. We’ve had a few exciting new opportunities come our way in the last few months, and this has taken up a lot of my time.

One of our new exciting changes is our new Web site. The old site was great and leading-edge when it was created around 2006 or 2007, but over the years, more facets and features were added on to it. The site layout was widened, and, instead of creating new style sheets to refresh it, because my time was limited, I “bulked up” the code — essentially placing a “patch” on it.

This year, I was lucky enough to set aside some time to rebuild the site from scratch. It grew from a week-long job into a month-long job; anyone in the offices could tell you I wasn’t a happy camper about it dragging out so long!

We decided we wanted some big changes. Amongst these were:

  • An easier-to-read font size
  • Simpler-to-read language
  • A very “open” look
  • More emphasis on main information and less emphasis on less important information
  • “Buried” information brought to the same level as other information but put in another area
  • Redevelopment of the Students @ NaSA area to incorporate it more into the main site
  • Separation of enrolment information from the information section

Web sites are “living, breathing documents” that constantly change, so we may make a few more changes to help those who view it more user-friendly.

Of course, we also welcome any feedback you have on these changes, so if you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact me, and I can discuss this further with you.

Happy reading!

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.

Picking The Right Course

Following on from my last blog on getting results for taxpayers’ dollars invested, I’d like to discuss picking the right course in the beauty therapy industry.  This is a big sticking point, because the current government wants to reduce the proliferation of courses out there to help improve consistency and streamline choices for students to allow them to get the right qualifications for jobs in our and many other industries.

In the South Island, there are now several qualifications in beauty therapy, up from only a handful from a few years ago.  So which do you choose?  And why?

The National School of Aesthetics prides itself on being aligned to not 1 or 2 but 3 international governing bodies: ITEC, CIBTAC and CIDESCO.  Each of these international examination systems are known worldwide and offer comprehensive, well-recognised syllabuses in beauty therapy, nail technology and spa therapies.  We have been aligned with ITEC since our inception in 1985, with CIBTAC since the early 1990s, and with CIDESCO since the early 2000s, when the owners decided to add that system to the school.
Continue reading Picking The Right Course

The Move to Results-Based Funding

Recently, there has been a lot of talk from the Minister of Tertiary Education about the New Zealand taxpayer (they say Government, but don’t be fooled; it is the taxpayers’ money they are investing) getting more “bang for their buck” out of tertiary education.  Of course, we have heard this for a while.  If I recall correctly, for about a decade!  But the action on this seems to be finally coming now.

Some other providers have mentioned this is an era of change for them, that they’ll become more results-focused instead of “bums on seats”-focused to meet this new era of tertiary education.  In some cases, they make it sound as if the sun hasn’t risen for years and now, finally, we have a cloud-free day, the birds are chirping, the grass is the most beautiful green one has ever seen, and the flowers are in bloom.

In reality, the National School of Aesthetics has always been focused on results.  Quite simply, if you didn’t make the mark — and quite a high standard we have set to be sure — you didn’t pass.  This means students have to work hard to gain their qualification with us, and, I think, most students appreciate this because, once they finished, they feel that, wow, they worked hard to get their qualification and they are proud of it.
Continue reading The Move to Results-Based Funding

Recession Has Little Effect on Beauty Demand

When the economic crisis (as they are calling it now) struck last year, many people were worried about how this would affect their lives, their jobs, their industry. I was saying to a student last week that I’m of the “old school”, starting my tenure at the National School of Aesthetics in the mind-set that, “beauty therapy treatments are probably one of the first things people cut back on in times like this.”

I was very wrong.
Continue reading Recession Has Little Effect on Beauty Demand

Web Site Updates and the New Prospectus

In light of our 25th anniversary, as stated before, we’re making a few changes, and some of these changes are to make the information we give prospective students and their loved ones as concise but informative as possible.
In the last few days, I’ve been updating our Web site to make it easier-to-read, mostly by revamping tables, de-emphasizing “the fine print” by making it, well, fine print, and, most importantly, adding pictures to give the reader “a break” once in a while.  The thing with a Web site is it is a living, breathing document; it evolves as time marches on, usually for better (one hopes).  We’ve also made some content “reveal-able”, i.e. when you click on a link, the information expands (as opposed to pop-up in a new window, which sent many an internet browser putting warnings up).

All in all, there’s that great struggle between providing information everyone wants, content people like me (the i’s-dotted-and-t’s-crossed people: you know who you are) would like if I were reading the Web site as a prospective student and the beauty and, well, for lack of a better word, design aesthetic.

The prospectus, on the other hand, has to have so many printed in order to make it a viable exercise.  I used to create them and print them on my own, but, a few years back, we found printing a run of them professionally would be much cheaper than printing them ourselves.  The problem with creating your own documents for professional publication is once they are published, that’s it.  You have to live with any problems or out-of-date information you might have in there.

So, there were some mistakes I made (hey, even I am human!) to the first professionally-printed prospectus on my watch, and I’m hoping I’ve learned from those mistakes.  The prospectus under development now has much more simplified and easier-to-understand information with a more uniform look throughout it, and we’ve also tried to trim the number of pages with more emphasis on our Web site.

We’re hoping to have the new prospectus up-and-running by the beginning of May.  Keep an eye on our Web site for more information, and if you have any suggestions about our Web site, I’d be keen to hear your input.

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.