Oxford’s health and wellbeing stars of the future

OXFORD’S HEALTH AND WELLBEING STARS OF THE FUTURE
STUDENTS at City of Oxford College are getting valuable first-hand experience of working in the health and wellbeing sector, following the opening of a state of the art lifestyle centre.
The beauty, hairdressing and health and fitness students are busy studying for their qualifications, but now have the distinct advantage of being able to put their skills into practise immediately in a professional setting and take advantage of some direct work experience.
The Lifestyle Centre opened in the autumn and boasts a health and fitness centre, hair and beauty salons and a café, all of which are open to the public and managed and run by teams of students under the watchful eye of members of staff and tutors.
Debbie Weresch’s hairdressing career has spanned 30 years and she now manages the hairdressing department within the centre. She said: “I started out on a youth training scheme and with a few exceptions I have pretty much stuck to hairdressing. I love working here and the centre is fantastic for the students, because they can gain their qualifications and have access to a lot of work experience at the same time. Without that direct experience, getting a job is much harder. As well as keeping the students’ assessments up to date, we also give them a workplace reference when they leave.”
Laura Himpson manages the beauty salon and previously worked at a salon in Summertown. She added: “Working here is very different but I love it! We have a great team and the centre provides such fantastic opportunities for the students as well as giving clients the chance to have beauty treatments and haircuts.”
Clients can choose to book appointments with level one and two students, level three students, a stylist or a salon manager. Services range from a cut and finish to hair up, colour and conditioning treatments or manicures, pedicures, massages and facials as well as waxing, eye treatments and specialist facials.
Prices are keen and in the run up to Christmas there are plenty of special offers and treats available. Debbie added: “We make sure that every client has a full consultation, skin tests if they are having colour and are made aware of the products we have used. It is really important for the students to make clients aware of the whole process.”
Laura added that when it comes to beauty, there are no short cuts to the service that is offered at the centre. “We impress upon the students the importance of the customer journey and the need to make sure that from the moment someone steps inside the centre they are properly looked after and giving plenty of advice and information about their treatment. We always carry out face mapping so that we can see exactly what condition the skin is in and what products will work best. Clients are given a prescription when they leave so that they know what to use.”
The beauty salon uses Dermalogica and Orly products and the hair salon uses Wella products.
Client Denise Himpson is a regular at the centre. She said: “It is lovely here. Very relaxing and the treatments are really good. I am having a course of specialist facials at the moment and they seem to be working. The products are lovely-very high quality. I think it is really important that people come here and support the students by booking appointments. It is good to encourage them.”
As well as the hair and beauty salons, the centre has a well- equipped, state of the art gym. Student Luke Newton is studying to be a personal trainer. He said: “I am really enjoying the course and the great thing is that I get to actually get some work experience as well so that when I do leave college and get a job it won’t be such a shock.”
More information is available at http://www.oxfordlifestylecentre.co.uk

The health and fitness centre is open from 6.30am-10pm during the week and from 9am-9pm on Saturday and 9am-8pm on Sunday. Memberships start from just £16.99 a month. For more information call 01865 551521 or email healthandfitness@oxfordlifestylecentre.co.uk

The hair and beauty salon is open from 9am-3pm on Monday, from 9.30-8pm on Tuesday and Thursday, from 9am-8pm on Wednesday and from 9am-4.30pm on Friday and Saturday. For more information call 01865 551895 or email hairandbeauty@oxfordlifestylecentre.co.uk

Beauty salon manager Laura Himpson in action
Beauty salon manager Laura Himpson in action

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