Saturday, January 27, 2007

'Hair's your new job,' says salon boss

This column appeared yesterday in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from

JUST one year ago at age 23, Wellington Point High School "old boy" Les Lacey walked into his favourite hairdresser’s for a trim and walked out with a new career.
The hairdresser, Dean Sullivan, thought Les, then working for a big retailer, may make a good hairdresser and offered him a job.
Les is now a second-year apprentice at Sulli, Dean’s Wellington Point salon. The appointment started Dean’s long-term plan to foster developing talent in hairdressing, which rates highly among the nation’s growth industries (no joke).

READERS of our sister paper, Senior Lifestyle Bayside, already know Dean through a feature last year on his voluntary work with Rosevale Court Nursing Home residents.
Today, the subject is near the other end of the age range and on the other side of the scissors but let’s start with some background
About a quarter of a century ago, Dean moved with his family from Canberra to Alexandra Hills. After leaving Cleveland High School at 16 years old, he returned to the capital and served three years of a hairdressing apprenticeship in Centrepoint.
"Seven years ago I was 31 when I decided to come back (to hairdressing) and start from scratch again," Dean says.
"I started as a first year at Blue Dog in Cleveland and finished the apprenticeship in 23 months.
"After that I worked at a salon at Paddington in the city but decided to find a business for sale closer to home."

DEAN says the location of the Main Street salon, away from the hustle and bustle of major centres, suits his philosophy of building up personal clientele rather than catering for the "walk-in" trade.
Men have traditional barbering on one side, while women have their hair "sculpted" on the other.
The style of business also suits Dean’s aim of employing one new apprentice a year with a commitment to see them through their full term and longer by providing the best work conditions and training program.
"I want to look after them well and make it so good to work here that to leave is simply not an option," he says.
Dean received about one dozen applicants to a recent classified notice seeking Les’s successor as Sulli’s first-year apprentice.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Teenage growth creates uniform market

This column appeared today in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.
THE rapid growth rates of high school students has reflected during the countdown to a new school year, with lots of uniforms and sports gear on sale in the Classifieds.
Carmel College has featured most but this does not mean its teenagers grow faster than those at other schools.
Nevertheless, the rates and types of adolescent development are certainly a focus for the college’s new principal.
Bernice McLellan, who has worked in Catholic education for a quarter of a century, comes to Carmel after nine years as principal of San Sisto College, Carina.
Mrs McLellan had a brief holiday in Tasmania, where she and husband Robert sat at the famous Constitution Dock at sunset for a memorable feed of Bruny Island oysters.
Then it was straight to work, setting up her office, getting to know the college culture and community, and generally preparing for the big day, January 30, when about 750 students will take their places.
She rates the induction of the Year 8s among her first major assignments.
"San Sisto is for girls only, so I am looking forward to returning to co-education," she said. "It is good to get a handle on teaching boys again, especially in light of the discussion of their educational achievement."
Mrs McLellan has been focusing on research into boys’ education and has noted considerable improvement in their results in the most recent Queensland core skills tests.
Educational strategies appear to be working.
She said her challenges included keeping a balance between the specific needs of the female and male adolescents and ensuring the college did not neglect any group with special needs.
The mother of two girls and two boys – now aged from 22 to 27 – said her personal experience had helped her understand the different development rates of learning.
She also had the benefit of much research, especially since the 1990s when key Australian educational figures raised the alarm over the failure of boys to achieve academically.
Carmel College opened at Thornlands in 1993. It draws its name from Our Lady of Mount Carmel and looks to the traditions of the Carmelites for spiritual leadership.
The McLellans still live at Carindale but have been inspecting Redlands properties in preparation for a move.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mindpower backs women jobseekers

This article has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

REDLANDS business livewire Alison Blomkamp is having a busy start to 2007.
Alison is best known for her work with the innovative support agency, Business Grow.
The agency, with Redland Shire Council funding and sponsors including The Redland Times, has helped dozens of local businesses with advice and training.
This January, however, Alison’s focus is a project that looks at the needs of a different sector of the community.
Alison is project manager of the women2work program, It’s Time for ME, which aims to help Redlands women return to the workforce.
Almost 100 women have responded to the call for enrolments in the next round of the program starting February 5.
The strong demand has also had project coordinator Regan Keane’s phone running hot.
The team, including co-facilitators Penny Delfs and Kathryn Giovanis, faces a difficult task selecting just 20 women for the seven-week course.
"It must come down to those who are desperately seeking work," Alison says.
"There is an expectation that after the seven weeks they will go into the workforce.
"Their previous failures to get a job may come from many reasons. They may have been unsure of themselves in the interview situation or did not know what to put in an application letter.
"A lot of people write a very bland application that does not really say what they stand for and why someone should employ them."
It’s Time for ME includes about 20 modules in a format that the team designed to cover the main "soft" and "hard" skills that win jobs.
Personal skills such as self confidence and attitude are on the "soft" list, while computer skills are among the "hard" essentials.
The program includes a TAFE certificate I in information technology to give a grounding in the dominant Microsoft applications.
Another round of the program will begin in April.
It’s Time for ME has funding from the Queensland Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and runs in partnership with Redland Council.
Alison faces a busy 2007 with Business Grow soon to expand its services and require another staff member on a "point-five" basis
In February, Alison will celebrate the fourth anniversary of her move to the Redlands from Charleville, where she was a regional business adviser.
More stories on

Saturday, January 06, 2007

'Rabbit food' putdown is now bad taste

Image from Wikipedia
HEALTHY eating must have been on the minds of Redlanders this festive season, maybe thanks partly to the millions of dollars worth of advertising pitched at the public’s diet conscience.
But, although the "eat right" theme has been the flavour of the month in public health promotion, at least one Redlands business has been quietly doing its bit in the field for many years.
Food Le Naturel is a salad specialist with its factory on a former strawberry farm in Bunker Road, Victoria Point.

THE French name reflects the Swiss origins of the family that moved to the property in 1982 and farmed fruit and vegetables before building a small factory 12 years later and settling on meeting demand for a range of salads from the best fresh ingredients.
The firm still makes all its dressings, mayonnaise and sauces for a range of more than 30 salads. It supplies consumers big and small, with its high-volume customers including Qantas.
Yvette Sunier recalls that another airline, Ansett, was among the handful of big customers that gave

Food Le Naturel its flying start. She was there on day one, undoubtedly washing, cutting, chopping and taste testing.
Yvette has reduced her involvement with the business but nevertheless has returned for extra hours during this busy Christmas-new year holiday.

SHIFTS in public tastes over the years stand out in such peak periods. In the early days the classic Berliner potato salad was among the most popular products, Yvette says.
This year "Bush Tucker" was the word and taste on many cusomers’ lips. The ingredients are potato, sweet potato, carrot, onion, garlic and Food Le Naturel’s own dressing.
"Bush Tucker", at $6.40 a kilogram, is midway in the firm’s price range, from $4.85 to $9.85 a kg.
Yvette says the public certainly seems to be more health and diet conscious nowadays.
"My daughter, Corinne, was still at Cleveland High School when we started but now she and her husband, Sergio, have taken over the business," Yvette says.
Corinne and Sergio Pinto are busy raising a new generation of salad makers. They have four children, aged 2 to 10.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column appeared yesterday in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.