From education to employment

Students inspired by cutting edge hair show at Royal Leamington Spa College

Hairdressing students at Royal Leamington Spa College enjoyed a creative cutting and colour masterclass when two leading hair educators came to stage a live demonstration on 13 November.

Darren Waterfall and Stuart McDonald, from training company McDonald Waterfall, transformed the hair of three professional models for a punk-themed hair show in front of an audience made up of over 70 students, staff and representatives from local hair salons.

Using classic cutting techniques and bold colour, the two Vidal Sassoon-trained stylists talked through their principles of haircutting which involves paying special attention to line, graduation and layering.They gave career tips and also revealed how they constantly look for inspiration for their avant-garde creations by keeping abreast of popular culture, the arts and fashion history.

The aim of the event was to give students an insight into the world of high end hairdressing and address the current industry skills gap between newly qualified graduates and the top salons.

Darren Waterfall said: “The world of hairdressing is a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. As soon as you stop training and developing your skills you get left behind. Our focus is to boost the standard of the UK hairdressing industry by promoting professional skills and ensuring the next generation of hairdressers have the fundamental building blocks to create their own inspired hairstyles.

“It has been fantastic to do this show at Leamington College. There is a real passion for hairdressing here that comes across from within the college and its lecturers. I deliver training all over the UK and can see that the department trains to a very high standard.”

Sam Joycelyn-Sears, Head of Hair and Beauty at Royal Leamington Spa said: “I’d like to thank McDonald Waterfall for coming to inspire us with their dazzling hairdressing masterclass. The event was truly inspirational and catapulted our students straight into the world of high fashion.  Darren and Stuart elevate the profession of hairdressing into a true art form. We can’t wait to work with them again in the future.”

Alice Thomas, age 18, from Stratford-upon-Avon is studying for a Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Hairdressing. She said: “I really enjoyed the whole experience of watching the show preparations and seeing new techniques in cutting and colouring. It was really interesting to see how top hairdressers work, meet the models and find out about other people’s career paths. I have learnt a lot. The day has shown me that there is so much more to hairdressing than just salon work.”  

Royal Leamington Spa College has a large commercial hairdressing salon and a barber shop open to the public that provides real-life work experience for students. 

WCG offers a range of courses and apprenticeships in hairdressing and barbering across its Warwickshire and Worcestershire Colleges. For more call 0300 456 0049.

WCG is one of the largest general further and higher education college groups in the UK, providing high quality education and training for individuals and organisations at a local, regional, national and international level.


The group has seven colleges – Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby, Moreton Morrell, Pershore, Evesham, Malvern Hills and Warwick Trident, with over 17,000 students and more than 1000 courses.


WCG works in partnership with a large number of local and national employers across industry and is the largest college provider of apprenticeship training in the region, with over 2,000 apprentices trained every year.

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