From education to employment

College students make-up some of Tees Valley’s top new entrepreneurs


POST-LOCKDOWN is looking bright – and beautiful – for three makeup-artistry students turned entrepreneurs 

Creative Middlesbrough College students have turned their passion into a profession during the pandemic, and are set to reap the rewards when restrictions around beauty treatments are lifted next week. 

Paige Duffy and Olivia Woodier, both 18, and 17-year-old Sydney Berry are among a number of entrepreneurial make-up artistry students who run their own businesses alongside their studies.

Paige, from Park End in Middlesbrough, used lockdown as an opportunity to grow her business by promoting it to thousands of Instagram followers through collaborations with make-up brands, offering one-to-one online tutorials for clients and hosting giveaways.

She said: “I always knew I wanted to run my own business, but the announcement of lockdown last year was worrying.

“I decided not to let Covid effect my ambitions and began focusing my energy on social media. Filming tutorials and partnering with brands helped grow my confidence, and influence, and I was still able to offer my services to clients through online tutorials and workshops. 

“It’s been a big learning experience but I’m excited about what the future holds.”

Olivia from Hemlington in Middlesbrough started her self-named business after beginning her Level 2 Technical Make up Artistry course at Middlesbrough College.

She said: “The past 12 months have been challenging for us all, and as a young business owner, the prospect of not being able to operate was really daunting.

“Lockdown hit just as I was starting to really grow my business and I had to reassess how I was going to move it forward.

“It’s been difficult but I’ve been very lucky to have the support of my family and friends – my parents even helped build a professional salon in our garage, ready for when restrictions are lifted and I can begin seeing clients again.”

After completing her Level 3 Advanced Technical diploma in Make-up Artistry at Middlesbrough College, Olivia plans to study teaching at university ahead of expanding her business into a makeup training academy – and also dreams of creating her own makeup brand one day. This new course at the College allows students to gain double UCAS points to support their university applications.

Fellow student Sydney was on the cusp of starting her business when lockdown hit – but she didn’t let the pandemic put a hold on her plans. The young entrepreneur, who’s won numerous industry awards, set up her own salon from her family home in Hemlington, Middlesbrough, where she was able to build a strong client list in between lockdowns last year – with clients already repeat booking ahead of April 12.

She said: “It has been a tough time for the beauty industry as a whole and we’ve had to adapt the way we operate. I was just starting to work with my own clients from home and had to think of innovative ways to promote my business during lockdown.

“I approached dance schools across the region and have been hosting lessons with their students so they can apply their own makeup ready for competitions. I’ve also been filming masterclasses which have been popular with my clients.

“If anything, this has just made me want to make my business even more successful and I’ve really proved to myself that anything is possible.” 

Heather Ferguson, Level 2 & 3 Hair and Media Makeup course leader, lecturer and competition coordinator, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve focused on continuing to offer the highest standards and quality of education to our students – through online teaching and without an interruption to learning.

“Paige, Olivia and Sydney are shining examples of students who’ve taken this opportunity to really hone in on their talent and take a big step forward in their career.

“It’s so rewarding seeing Middlesbrough College students using the skills and knowledge they’ve gained in the classroom to build their own successful business and we’ll be there to support them every step of the way.”

Hair and beauty students are trained by experienced tutors, learning the skills and techniques to carry out specialist treatments in one of seven professionally equipped hair and beauty salons on-site.

The College’s Hairdressing Academy operates as a real working environment with structure, opening hours, revenue, customer service, client retention and financial targets.

Students also work with the same professional standard and equipment found in leading salons, meaning they’re workplace ready.

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