Solving the riddle of building human connection in the midst of a pandemic, students in the Selkirk College Hairstylist Program are offering an in-person salon experience at Nelson’s Silver King Campus while adhering to post-secondary health and safety protocols.
A cornerstone program offering at the Nelson campus since the mid-1960s, decades of learners have honed their skills in the student-run salon that is open to the public. One of the Selkirk College programs offered in-person since September, students have been immersed in classroom learning and have now opened the doors to a full range of salon services.
“It’s one thing to understand techniques of cutting hair using angles and math, what’s involved in colour theory and all of the technical aspects we have learned so far,” says Amy Blomme, one of 12 students in this year’s cohort. “What we can’t learn in the classroom is communication with the client, so having people come into the salon is an exciting part of our education.”
Amy Blomme is one of 12 students in the Selkirk College Hairstylist Program that has been advancing her skills on mannequins and is now ready to provide salon services to the public at Nelson’s Silver King Campus.
Blomme entered the nine-month Hairstylist Program as a high school student through the Youth Train in Trades (YTT) stream. Designed to help secondary students get a head start on careers in the trades while earning credit towards high school graduation, Blomme began preparing to enter the program in Grade 10. This spring, the 17-year-old will graduate from Selkirk College before she graduates from L.V. Rogers Secondary.
“I love this program so much,” she says. “When the whole COVID thing started, it was very difficult for me as a high school student to participate in the online learning. Coming into this program was so amazing. Being part of an education where the goal is to make people feel better about themselves, that just feels good.”
A Safe Environment for Students and Clients
One of the instructors in the program, Kat Zaworonok is an industry veteran and Class of 1998 Hairstylist Program alumnae who is in her first year of full-time teaching on the Silver King Campus. When the provincial government instituted its first round of pandemic restrictions last March, Zaworonok was part of the team at Waves on the Lake Hair Design in Nelson’s Prestige Lakeside Resort.
In a sector impacted significantly by the initial pandemic shock and subsequent pivot, Zaworonok is perfectly positioned to help guide students through both the challenges and opportunities of current times.
“We are following the protocols carefully because we want to keep working and learning,” says Zaworonok, who continues to take clients at Waves on the Lake when not teaching at the Silver King Campus. “It was very difficult when everybody had to go home, it was hard for a lot of people. Aside from the financial uncertainty, hairdressers are typically extroverted and love being around people. We want to take care of people… so as long as everyone is following the rules, we can all get our hair done.”
Instructor Kat Zaworonok (left) and some of Selkirk College Hairstylist Program students who are now taking clients at the Silver King Campus in Nelson.
Adhering to proven Selkirk College health and safety protocols, the Silver King Campus Hair Salon is open for appointments on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. With a full range of services available from cuts to perms to colours, clients are immersed in a learning environment packed with enthusiasm and careful consideration to detail.
Guided every step of the way by Zaworonok, the extra time it takes sitting in the chair is rewarded by the appreciation students have for the in-person client experience. During a time lacking human interaction, it’s an opportunity to bring people together.
“People want that little bit of pampering, that little bit of beauty… something to enrich their life more,” says Zaworonok. “This profession is part science and part art, but lots of healing because it’s hands-on. If people come up, they will have a good time. These students are amazing, everyone wants to learn and they all support each other.”
To book an appointment at the Silver King Campus Hair Salon call 250.354.3243. Find out more information about salon services here.