June 25, 2020
How did you spend “iso”? Some binge-watched TV but if you’re like young Jesse Birdseye you also did Year 12 assignments, studied at TAFE, worked two days a week AND completed a professional body-piercing course on the Gold Coast.
Did we mention that Jesse also went to “boot camp” during the April holidays so he could start learning “styling up” ahead of this year’s school formals?
Jesse, who lives in Nanango, is just 17 but he’s well on his way to his dream career in hairdressing.
He’s a second year school-based apprentice, balancing study at Nanango State High School with his work at Alicia Pidgeon’s Spa and Hairworx in Murgon.
Jesse is completing a Certificate III in Hairdressing which he is studying through Caboolture TAFE. He was doing his Certificate II in Kingaroy but had to go further afield for the Cert III.
But why Murgon?
“It’s the only place in the South Burnett that has hairdressing and body piercing,” Jesse explained.
Alicia’s salon has two full-time staff members, one casual worker plus two “after-school” helpers.
Jesse works one school day a week at the salon plus Saturdays.
During the two-week school holidays, he’s even busier: one day at Caboolture TAFE (two hours away) plus a total of seven days at the salon.
It’s a 50-minute trip each way for Jesse to come to work, but he doesn’t mind, although he admits that when he finishes Year 12, he may move a bit closer to Murgon!
For the first six months, Jesse’s parents accompanied him on the drives while he notched up the hours on his “L” plates.
Now he drives himself … paying for his own petrol, registration and car insurance.
Jesse enrolled in the $2700 professional body-piercing course in August last year.
The course – which covered infection control, specialist piercing and microdermal implants – consisted of six months of online content plus a week-long, hands-on practical course on the Gold Coast.
The reward is a nationally recognised qualification which now makes Jesse one of only a couple of fully qualified body piercers in the South Burnett.
The practical sessions were scheduled for January 13-17 but were postponed after the bushfires prevented some other students attending.
The course was re-scheduled for February 17-21 so Jesse cancelled his accommodation and booked again … but these new dates were in the middle of his Year 12 assessment period!
Undeterred, Jesse tried to get as many of his school assignments done a week before his classmates; the work he didn’t get finished he took with him to the Gold Coast.
After spending 9:00am to 5:00pm each day on the body-piercing prac, Jesse would settle down and do his schoolwork.
He was supposed to go back to the Gold Coast for another two-day session in July to finish the course, but COVID-19 restrictions put an end to this plan.
However, Jesse wasn’t going to be put off that easily from his hard-earned qualification.
He contacted the training providers, Eze Training, and came to an agreement: instead of the final two days, he completed a detailed flow-chart which explained all he had learned – as well as a First Aid certificate.
Alicia is proud of the enormous effort that Jesse has put in over the past few months to get his qualifications, and his determination to succeed in his planned profession.
She paid for the First Aid certificate but Jesse stumped up the cash for the course and his hairdressing equipment.
He hopes to finish his apprenticeship next year which will be followed by a year-long probation period.
“I don’t have much of a social life these days!” he joked.