Varnish at the ready! The Palm Tree Salon opens
Young people at Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr are set to benefit from the opening of a new nail bar at the school.
The 'Palm Tree Salon' will not only teach the youngsters practical skills but will help their confidence and build communication skills crucial for life beyond the classroom.
South Ayrshire Council has been working with the Prince's Trust and Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire (DYW) to put the nail bar in place and help boost the employability of youngsters at the school.
Funding of £5,080 has been invested in the scheme by the Prince's Trust and DYW with youngsters set to learn practical skills to get them ready for employment.
The funding will also be used to set up a bike repair hub and a rural and horticultural skills course at the school which could prove invaluable to young people looking to get into farming or land management.
Employers are looking for committed school leavers who are confident and put customers first, the nail bar and the other initiatives could go a long way to instilling these attributes in young people at the school.
The projects which receive lecturer support from Ayrshire College are set to add value to the school's curriculum with practical experience.
Councillor William Grant, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "This is a great initiative for young people as it makes them think about their future and gives solid experience which they can build on. Potential employers will find those taking part have enhanced skills and are used to working closely with others.
"A lot of hard work has gone into setting up the projects and I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone involved and wish the young people all the best for the future."
Patryk Wolski (18) from S6 said: "I am looking to get into retail so dealing with customers is good experience. There are 6 boys working at the salon and we are all learning things that could help us when we leave school."
Naimh Murphy (15) from S4 said: "I hope the salon will be doing other beauty treatments in the future so I can learn even more. If I don't get into science when I leave school, then I have something to fall back on."
Claire Baird, DYW Ayrshire Project Executive said: "Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire is delighted to support this Queen Margaret Academy innovative school project in collaboration with the Prince's Trust Scotland, South Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire College.
"We believe that the Palm Tree Salon project will significantly assist in the development of employability skills known as soft skills in the young people taking part in this project with a particular emphasis on customer service and care skills."
Walter Smith, Prince's Trust Ayrshire Chair said: "There is a strong need to develop confidence in our young people and give them the ability to interact with adults in preparation for joining the workforce.
"We are extremely confident that the Palm Tree Salon will deliver this confidence and help prepare the young people for the world of work. It is great to get funding support from the Cash Back for Communities programme."
Tony Flynn, Head Teacher at Queen Margaret Academy said: "There is a sense of excitement about the school with young people, staff and partners ready to work together to make the Palm Tree Salon a success. The nail bar will make a big impression as we prepare youngsters for the jobs market. Communication and team building skills are transferrable so there is much to be learned even for those that don't go on to have a career as a nail technician."
Karolyn Phillips, PT Guidance at Queen Margaret Academy said: "We are very grateful to The Princes Trust and DYW for funding our project. We are appreciative of the assistance, support and enthusiasm of Ayrshire College staff in delivery of the nail qualifications. This project has been partnership working at its best throughout the entire journey. We look forward to introducing more Skills for Work courses including Bike Maintenance and Rural Skills next session".
Other schools in South Ayrshire are also set to benefit as similar schemes are rolled out in Kyle Academy, Girvan Academy and Carrick Academy. Ayr Academy, Marr College and Belmont Academy are due to have initiatives in place over the next few months.
Similar schemes already running at Prestwick Academy and Newton Primary are set for a second year of funding in recognition of their success.