Machaela Robbins says her HITO beauty therapy apprenticeship has been “rewarding and fun”.
Machaela Robbins’ boss was “blown away” when Machaela beat fierce competition from the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy sectors to emerge as New Zealand’s Apprentice of the Year at the 2017 HITO Industry Awards.
It was the first time an apprentice from the beauty therapy industry had taken out the top spot at the annual awards.
Machaela says she is still buzzing about the win. It was the icing on the cake for someone who is relishing the opportunity to become a great beauty therapist, all while earning and learning.
It was her love of makeup that attracted her to beauty therapy initially. Her family and friends encouraged her to pursue a career in the industry and take on an apprenticeship.
“I had a huge passion for makeup and part of studying makeup was having the foundation of beauty behind you. Doing this had led me to love beauty therapy as a whole and not just
Machaela says her apprenticeship has been “awesome”.
The apprenticeship scheme is run by HITO, the Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation. It allows apprentices in the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy sectors to learn practical skills from their employer, which are then assessed to prove they’ve mastered the necessary skills to gain a professional qualification.
Hairdressing and barbering apprentices will receive training from their employer and off-job training, while beauty therapy apprentices will complete all their training and assessment in the workplace.
Each apprentice is supported by an expert and dedicated HITO sales and training manager (STA) who helps keep apprentices on track with their learning, supporting employers and their trainers to assist their training.
Apprentices can either begin an apprenticeship from gaining employment if in the industry, or directly from school.
Apprenticeships can take up to four years, depending on the industry, however getting though it much quicker is also achieveable.
Machaela likes that HITO allows apprentices to complete the apprenticeship at their own pace, enabling a good balance between work, study and life. With a nearly-three-year-old in tow, this is important for her.
“I am coming up to having mine completed in just over a year.”
She has enjoyed the support she has received from HITO and the other apprentices.
“During your apprenticeship you meet and interact with a whole new support network of others going through the same assessments and units, so you can always ask for help – or even help and support others.”
She loves working in the beauty industry and has her sights set on owning her own salon one day.
“We are lucky to be able to give clients confidence and make them feel a million dollars – not all careers allow you to do this.”
For now, however, her focus is on her work and completing her apprenticeship.
Her advice for anyone on the fence about embarking on a HITO apprenticeship is simple.
“Go for it!” she says, “I find it to be so rewarding and fun; you make awesome friends and you even get a career out of it.”
Wrapping qualifications around skills and experience
Barber Peleti Oli, who runs and owns Somehz Touch Barbers Hastings, took a different pathway into his career. He learned the art of barbering from a close high school friend, who has since passed away.
“It means my craft is very special to me. It’s like a gift,” he says.
Conscious that he needed to have his skills formally recognised through some qualifications, Peleti sought out HITO’s ‘qualification by experience’ option, which guides barbers with at least three years’ experience to get qualified. Beauty therapists and hairdressers with five years’ experience can also pursue this pathway through HITO.
It was a Barbercraft event run by HITO in Auckland that opened Peleti’s eyes to all sorts of possibilities – not just getting qualified, but opportunities for connecting with others in the industry and being inspired by other barbers.
“Otherwise I’m limited by my own experience,” he says.
The talented barber has since gone from strength to strength, last year taking out Barbercraft’s Open Creative title.
And now Peleti is keen to share his craft with others. He takes on aspiring barbers, including school leavers and vulnerable young people, and introduces them to the art of barbering. He is particularly passionate about helping Pacific people in his community.
He’s even had some embark on HITO’s apprenticeship programme, of which he is a strong advocate. Peleti is enjoying the challenge of training up apprentices.
“I’m learning so much,” he says.
His efforts for helping people haven’t gone unnoticed. Last year the talented barber received the Pasifika Community Impact Award at the Got a Trade, Got it Made awards presented at Parliament.