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