This July saw the return of the Trade Works Barbering workshops at the Alpha Vocational Training Centre and the St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre. Led by long-time partner, Andrea Pezzillo (head of the “Trade Works” organisation and a highly skilled celebrity hair stylist), these workshops expose students to key concepts, methodologies and equipment which will help them as they enter the world of professional barbering.
During these sessions, students were each given brand new toolkits containing trade essentials such as clippers, clipper combs, trimmers, beard foam cleanser, Palmaid and feather razors. Andrea’s team of skilled barbering/hair professionals took turns explaining how each piece of equipment operated, the best uses for each as well as necessary safety protocols to keep in mind. True to the tradition of both Alpha and St. John Bosco, the Trade Works team made sure to incorporate moments of practical learning in their sessions. One favourite activity among groups was a game in which players would pair up and take turns to give each other line-ups within 30-minute segments respectively. Prior to each player’s turn, he/she had to conduct a brief consultation with their partner to discuss what style they desired; thus encouraging students to practise, not only technical skills, but customer engagement as well.
While many core concepts related to the trade have already been learned by students in school, the Trade Works team aimed to go over additional topics which still bear much importance for those who wish to start their own barbering businesses once they leave school. These topics included professionalism; customer service; building clientele; renting chairs in established barber shops; advertising and networking. Beyond these annual summer workshops, Trade Works also supports our young adults through the provision of scholarships throughout the school year and a 6-week summer vocational programme. In the future, Andrea aims to increase their level of support by bringing back the organisation’s paid summer internship programme and finding ways of supporting students at each stage of their professional journey until they secure employment or establish their own businesses. We look forward to seeing how this partnership with Trade Works will continue to evolve in coming years and are grateful for their continued investment in the next generation of Jamaican barbers!