The opening of Purple Kisses Beauty Salon at the Springer Memorial School last Friday, was the culmination of a two-year struggle by the school to provide a teaching facility to train students with an interest in cosmetology.

This was noted by Chairman of the Board of Management, Patricia Hackett-Codrington, as she addressed the official handover of the salon by the W. Salon Partner School Programme.

Pointing out that the school had always tried to be creative in its offerings to students, she said it had endeavoured to develop a well-rounded individual and since 1992, had introduced a programme called Free Choice. ???The mission is ???to equip the girls with the skills and knowledge they would not normally gain as part of a regular school curriculum, so they would be prepared for the working environment, especially in the area of self-employment???,??? she explained.

Mrs. Hackett Codrington also noted that this aspect of the school???s intervention has remained strong over the years and from time to time several new skills have been added. ???Cosmetology has been one of the more recent ones. When the CVQs [Caribbean Vocational Qualification] programme was introduced into secondary school by the Ministry, we at Springer Memorial were able to move fairly seamlessly into it because a culture for skills development has been developed in the school,??? she disclosed.

Principal, Pauline Benjamin urged more businesses to come on board and partner with schools in a manner similar to that of W. Salons and the Small Business Association (SBA). She also made a pitch for assistance with her school???s green house and agricultural programme, which she noted had been stalled because of financial constraints. ???This has equipped us to meet the requirements of TVET [Technical Vocational Education and Training) but will allow the students to operate in a modern and realistic environment and have the experience of reaching out to the community,??? Ms. Benjamin said.

The salon is an initiative of the Enterprise in Action (EIA) offered via the SBA. It received assistance from the SBA; W. Salon, a brand of Shelly Williams, wife of businessman, Ralph ???Bizzy??? Williams and from Chief Executive Officer of BGI Beauty Inc. Jaouni Mohammed who donated equipment.

Chief Executive Officer of the SBA, Lynette Holder, in praising the initiative pointed out that 85 of the 925 students passing through the EIA, in the last five years had been from Springer Memorial. Expressing the hope that the salon would be an income generating one, Ms. Holder said she would like to see it replicated in other schools and as a permanent fixture on the curriculum.

Expected to open to business from mid-March, Purple Kisses Beauty Salon will place emphasis on girls in both primary and secondary schools. This clientele will be garnered through an advertising campaign to start by month-end.

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