TAFE Queensland and Scripture Union QLD have teamed up to show their support for some of the region’s most selfless carers, by providing local grandparent foster carers and parents of children with disabilities some much-needed ‘me time’.
During September and October, students undertaking the Certificate III in Beauty Services at TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg campus have provided free treatments for more than 30 deserving carers nominated by SU QLD chaplains at schools across Bundaberg.
Field Development Manager for SU QLD and local school chaplain Lisa Hardie said she came up with the plan after speaking with a number of grandparents who had taken on the role of guardian to students attending her school.
“I’d been hearing similar stories from other chaplains in the area about some of the difficult family situations that have arisen that have made it a necessity for these grandparents to take on caring for their grandchildren full-time, and through my own interactions, had noticed many were finding it difficult,” Ms Hardie said.
“They are in a situation where their friends are empty nesters who are retiring and doing all sorts of things now their children are grown up and living their own lives, but for various reasons, they’re now in the throes of caring for babies and primary school children, so it can be quite tough on them – both financially and emotionally.
“Yet they continue to put aside their own feelings and concerns and so selflessly put the welfare of their grandchildren above their own.”
Having also been told by her fellow chaplains about parents in the area who were working hard to raise children with disabilities, Ms Hardie decided to contact TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg campus to see if they could work together to offer some respite while connecting families in similar situations.
“My daughter is a hairdresser who trained through TAFE and I knew they needed people to practice on, so I thought I’d reach out. We just thought it would be so wonderful to give these parents and grandparents something – just a little bit of time – for themselves, because they are doing such a wonderful job,” Ms Hardie said.
“We also wanted to offer them a chance to connect with other carers like them so they can support and encourage each other by sharing their experiences, so we’ve tried to organise it so there are multiple booked for each session.
“I know it doesn’t solve their situations, but we wanted to let them know that there are people that notice their dedication, that there are people that really care and honour what they’re doing, and that they are not alone.”
TAFE Queensland Faculty Director for Creative and Digital (East Coast region) Angela Lisle said the collaboration was providing Bundaberg beauty students with ‘clients’ they can complete practical assessments on, while offering the dedicated carers some respite.
“Our students are excited to be able to use the skills they have gained through their qualification to show appreciation to such a worthy group of people,” Ms Lisle said.
“TAFE Queensland is committed to delivering quality, hands-on training, with our students required to complete practical assessments that enable them to put what they have learned into a real life context.
“This collaboration with SU QLD has given our students the chance to put their skills into practice in delivering body massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, as well [as] providing excellent custom service, and our students are enthusiastic to provide these ‘clients’ with the best experience possible.
“These carers give so much of themselves to ensure their grandchildren and children have a safe, loving and supportive home, so these free pamper sessions are our way of acknowledging their commitment despite the challenges they face, by giving them the opportunity to relax and do something just for themselves.”
Ms Lisle highlighted the power beauty therapy has in boosting mood and confidence, and said this initiative was just one example of how rewarding a career in the industry can be.
With the initiative so far proving to be a success, TAFE Queensland’s Bundaberg beauty students are hoping to make the sessions a regular occurrence for these local carers, and SU QLD is considering the prospect of coordinating similar initiatives across the state.
“A beauty therapist’s job is to help others feel amazing, not just in terms of appearance but on the inside too, so it’s no wonder the industry has seen so much growth,” Ms Lisle said.
“According to the National Skills Commission, employment growth in beauty therapy has increased by 20 per cent nationwide over the last five years, and it’s anticipated to grow by a further 7.7 per cent over the next five year to 2025.”
The Certificate III in Beauty Services is more affordable than ever under the Federal and State Governments’ JobTrainer initiative, which provides funding that assists eligible school leavers, young people and job seekers in entering high priority skills areas, by enabling them to complete selected qualifications at no or low cost.