The 22 year old EIT graduate completed her two year apprenticeship by acing all five of her final assessments in a gruelling full day of in-salon testing.
It’s a huge achievement for the young mum but her employer, Laura Marham, owner of Hair Envy in Hastings for three years, says it’s all down to Abbie’s determination and sheer hard work.
“Abbie came to me for work experience while she was studying at EIT and she set the bar so high. Then she impressed me again once she’d graduated, fronting up and telling me she’d work for no pay to show me how eager she was and that I’d benefit from having her here,” says Laura.
The unpaid offer wasn’t necessary. Abbie duly became Laura’s first apprentice and within a short time was working full-time on the floor, taking whatever challenge came through the door in her stride.
Laura, who is UK trained, has found her association with EIT helpful in getting to understand the New Zealand approach to the industry. She’s particularly enjoyed the support offered by Gillian Taylor from EIT’s business relationship unit.
“Gill calls in to check on how things are going and will bring EIT students in for a visit and introduction before they start work experience with us. That’s important to me as a business owner.”
A cancer survivor herself Laura, and now Abbie, are regulars at Cranford Hospice offering hair treatments and styling to patients wanting to look their best for special family events and remembrance photos.
“It’s important to me that my business supports our community and this is quite a personal way to do that,” says Laura.
For Abbie, it’s been a humbling experience. “I really am privileged to give my time to help someone feel a little better for a wee while.”
The two are also going to tackle 12 hours of non-stop non-chemical hair action in a Hair for Hope event to raise funds for Cranford Hospice. Laura is hoping that EIT students will volunteer to help with shampooing and other tasks while Abbie and she cut and style.
Juggling the workload of study and then full-time employment with a young child can be hard at times but Abbie says it’s all worth it.
“EIT helped me to get to where I am and I’m loving it.”