September 20, 2021 10:35 am

Beauty and Skills

Beauty is skills deep…

Origin of skills development

Skills development in South Africa has its origins in the early seventies. The idea started with labour unions that called for a type of system where members could attain, benchmark and manage priorbeauty the progress of their skills. It was believed by labour that skills were not adequately recognised, as only formal qualifications were considered when remuneration was discussed.

At the time, little formal training existed in the various fields of the beauty profession. Training in the Beauty SPA industry for example, was non existent. Individuals with real skills and competence enjoyed little or no formal recognition of their abilities on account of the absence of a formal system against which they could benchmark their skills. Business and management argued against high salary levels, citing these low skills as justification.

The time was right to create a system where formal recognition would be given for skills. However, the fact that these skills comprised smaller parts of an overall qualification presented a problem. The system called for a modular approach – almost a ‘building block’ approach. This would expose professionals to a system where learning could take place in steps but on a formalised basis, leading in time to a full qualification.

Why skills development is necessary in the beauty industry

Skills development in the beauty industry presents the beauty professional with an opportunity to complete formal training in their specific area of expertise, such as skin care, facials, etc. These ‘clusters’ of skills, called skills programmes, enable the beauty professional to accumulate skills bit by bit. Enrolling for an entire qualification might be daunting in view of work and other time-related pressures. Often these full qualifications are also offered only on a full-time basis (during the day), making it impossible to work and study part-time. The skills programme approach, on the other hand, enables the learner to acquire smaller sections of a qualification one at a time. These skills programmes can then be ‘articulated’ into a qualification.

Benefits of skills development for the beauty professional

The benefits of skills for the beauty professional are plentiful:
• Learners can obtain a formal qualification by completing the right combination of skills programmes.
• Skills programmes are competency-based rather than theoretical, as many qualifications were previously.
• Being competency-based, skills programmes can be used to measure performance.
• Skills programmes concentrate on real skills and applied knowledge that can be used to earn a living.
• Learners can use their practical experience to demonstrate competency in various skills.
• As skills are measured, skills gaps and skills development opportunities can be gauged.
• Skills programmes make it possible to compare the performance of one professional with that of another.
• Learners can benchmark their skills against formal skills programmes developed on a professional basis.
• Specific, individual skills can also be formalised and benchmarked on an international and professional basis.


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