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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


School stays on top of style trends

By Nick Candiotto
The Toronto Sun

While style and fashion are constantly changing, there are fundamentals needed to work in the industry that remain virtually unchanged. This is where education comes into play -- passing on these fundamentals.

Opened in 1998, Barrie's Pro Image Hair Academy provides students with experience in all aspects of hair design. As a L'Oreal school, they offer courses in shampoos and rinses, hair and scalp treatments, precision cutting, permanent waving and hair colouring (all using L'Oreal products) in addition to instruction in salon management, customer relations and professional ethics.
Students at Barrie's Pro Image Hair Academy learn the latest trends in hairstyles, makeup artistry and nail style, and learn to use state-of-the-art equipment.

"It's more than just working with hair," says owner and instructor Linda Adkins. "We are currently upgrading our computer system, shifting from the old New Wave [appointment software] to the current version, because most salons work in computerized appointments. It's important for our students to have a knowledge of the programs they'll be using in the salons."

In fact, Pro Image's curriculum is updated annually, ensuring students receive training in the latest styles and trends. In addition, the academy offers students the chance to work with state-of-the-art equipment in small class groupings.

"We are committed to keeping class sizes at a minimum with a ratio of one teacher for every eight to 10 students. As we grow, I'm hiring more staff members to make sure we keep that ratio."

Pro Image's instructors arrive at the academy with an abundance of knowledge and experience, but also continually upgrade their own skills.

Adkins stipulates that staff members attend at least two courses a year in order to remain on the cutting edge of the beauty technology industry.

"Most of our instructors exceed the two course requirement, taking classes in career training for hairstyling or for teaching in the industry," says Adkins -- who is also subject to the stipulation.

The academy can also help those already working in the industry upgrade their skills through continuing education workshops and seminars. Instructors are committed to aiding students in their job search -- offering letters of referral as well as student cards and supplier discounts.

However, the ultimate goal of the academy is to prepare the students for a successful career in the beauty industry -- a goal they have achieved since day one.

"My first graduate in 1999 just recently purchased her own salon and is very successful. To have that kind of success story ... that's something we're very proud of," Adkins says.

The focus on a successful career also lead Pro Image Hair Academy into uncharted territory.

In addition to their hairstyling curriculum, the academy offers extensive training programs in the field of makeup artistry and nail style -- following a trend that is sweeping the entire industry.

"Most salons are turning into spas, offering makeup, manicures and pedicures. Because we want to offer the salons good students, we needed to make the addition," Adkins says.

The makeup training itself concentrates on the individual student and prepares them for work specializing in fashion, photography, modelling, television, competitions and client applications.

As just the third Creative Nail academy in Ontario, Pro Image uses the company's complete line of products and offers manicure and pedicure certificates with instruction in acrylic nails, gel nails and nail art.

For additional information about the school and the courses themselves, call 705-735-2558 or visit the academy on the Web at

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