THE explosive growth of the nail art industry is putting power into the fingertips of mother-of-two Ria Smith.

Ria, 37, is now on the road to running her own successful business in a sector that’s become one of the most “in demand” in the world of beauty.

Her ambition to be her own boss in a job that excites and inspires her also fulfils another huge need – to be at the heart of her family while they are growing up.

Ria, who has completed her Nail Technology Level 3 Diploma at the Indulgence academy at Progress to Excellence Ltd Frome, had had a series of jobs working from home with a “real career” little more than a dream.

She said: “I’d worked at home doing different jobs for six years so I could be there for our two sons – one aged 15 and the other aged 12 – but especially for the youngest as he was diagnosed with emotional issues in Year 2 at school and had periods where he refused to go to school or was sent home. It was important for me to be home - and still is.

“I knew that a few former colleagues had completed make-up courses at Progress to Excellence Ltd and, after looking at the training on offer, I decided to sign up for the nail technician course a year ago.

“I had previously spent a day on a gel extension nail course and really enjoyed it. I discovered a love of nail art and doing nail extensions –it was a way of making people feel good.”

Ria is currently working out of her dining room at home and hopes to extend a portion of the house to create her own salon.

She said: “This means I can fit studying in around clients and the boys’ school. I can also study in the evening and still be in the same room as my family.”

With her mind firmly set on studying for more qualifications, Ria has begun an ITEC Beauty Therapy course to offer her clients a wider range of treatments.

She explained: “It’s important for them to have consistency and reliability of service, particularly those who maybe have some anxiety about seeing new people for treatments. It also means they can have the benefit of only having to travel to one place for their professional beauty care.

“I’m really enjoying the course as we are learning new things all the time. I’m a bit nervous though about the final practical exam – and who wouldn't be.

“However, I recently decided that it’s a long way off yet so I’m just going to take things one week, one workbook, one case study, one assessment and one exam at a time.”

The UK nail art market is currently seen as a major growth area in the beauty industry with predictions showing an upward annual growth trend of around 4 per cent.

With their popularity showing no signs of slowing down, beautician courses are proving to be the best way to get started in the nail art world.

The Indulgence academy at Progress to Excellence Ltd Frome specialises in NVQs, Diplomas and VRQs in nails, beauty, nails and make-up and is based at The Business Courtyard, Marls Pit Lane, Trudoxhill, Frome BA11 5DL.

Most courses are funded through an Advanced Learner Loan which, subject to eligibility, is available to individuals aged 19 and over who choose to study a level 3 to level 6 course. It’s easy to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan and household income isn’t taken into account. There’s also no credit check or upper age limit.

The loan will not be paid back until income is over £25,752 a year. You’ll repay 9 per cent of your income over £25,725 a year.

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