Board Member Spotlight: Joan Scott

What is your current role?

I’m currently CEO and Chair of the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority. I host regular education forums, keeping educators aware of current challenges and opportunities. I’m an author of The Official Guide to Spa Therapy and have contributed to many other beauty textbooks. My passion for our industry has seen me visit spas across the UK and all around the world, including Abu Dhabi, Budapest, Dubai, Iceland, India, Morocco Sri Lanka and Thailand. I’m a huge supporter of the benefits of skills competitions and I’m the North West Champion for the AoC/World Skills UK. I work as a Skills Consultant with a group of Colleges, helping them to focus on technical excellence and enhance their skills competition activity. In addition I’m a lead Assessor for the annual AoC Beacon Awards. I’m from Cumbria, live in Manchester and love to travel whenever I get the opportunity.

How did you get into the beauty industry?

From the age of 11, I knew I wanted to be in the beauty industry, initially as a makeup artist but after seeing all the different career routes, I changed my mind. After doing A Levels, I went to college to study hair and beauty, which I felt was the best course available, combining both specialisms. After working in industry, including a couple of years in a private physiotherapy clinic, and having my own beauty business, I went into teaching. I was in the FE sector for many years – my last role was Assistant Principal, leading on Apprenticeships and Adult Education. I now work for myself and feel I’ve got my dream career, combining lots of my passions: Beauty, spas, education, skill competitions and travel. I’m blessed that my beauty therapy qualification has given me so many opportunities, with lots more to come. My path hasn’t followed my original plan, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I urge everyone to embrace every opportunity that comes along – push outside your limits and allow yourself to find what’s truly meant for you.

What advice would you give to people who are thinking about getting started in the beauty industry?

It’s a wonderful, fast-paced, innovative and creative sector, with so many different paths and opportunities. The industry is continually evolving with roles in science, technology, research and journalism, as well as the more well-known roles such as beauty therapist, nail professional, spa therapist, etc. If you prefer to work as part of a team, there are lots of roles to consider, or if you want to have your own business, there are lots of exciting opportunities. If you have a good work ethic, excellent technical skills and great customer service skills, you can be very successful. For anyone wondering what the beauty and spa world holds for them: It holds fantastic opportunities, amazing experiences, and a chance to live the life you dream of.

What would you say is your proudest moment or event in your professional life?

There have been so many that it’s hard to choose just one. I was so proud to win a creative makeup competition when I was leaving college. I’ll never forget the sense of achievement. Having my own business was also exciting, with many celebrity clients. In education, I was very proud to have a large successful hair and beauty department of 1000 learners. A huge moment was when our college was the first college in the country to achieve five Grade 1/Outstanding grades under a new Ofsted framework – to us it felt like winning the World Cup! It was a huge team effort. I was also delighted (and shocked) to successfully achieve an MSc in Leadership. It was so hard juggling studying for a master’s degree with a full-time job and the demands of life in general – I was so relieved when it was over ! More recently I was thrilled to win the TES/Worldskills Hero award and the Worldskills Europe Honorary award. I was also very proud when my Spa Textbook was published – it was such a long labour of love. Recently I’ve been a contributing author on ‘Beauty and the Best’ and  ‘Fit for Purpose Leadership’. It’s such a wonderful sector with so many opportunities to stretch yourself and try new challenges.

What are your hopes for Habia in the next 5 years? 

At Habia, we’re continually busy developing National Occupational Standards (NOS) and reviewing apprenticeships in Scotland and Wales. Our Habia Endorsement is also very popular, many companies want to be endorsed by the Standard Setting body (SSB) so we can recognise the high-quality training they offer, and ensure their training is aligned with the most recent NOS. We will continue to champion high standards, promote regulated qualifications, encourage regular updating of skills and promote client safety. We seek to raise awareness of the need to be fully qualified, so your qualification is fully recognised, and you can gain insurance from a range of reputable insurance companies. We’re aware some insurance companies haven’t asked for evidence of a qualification, which is frightening. In this case, I fear neither the practitioner or their clients would be covered or protected. There’s lots going on! We’ll embrace all the opportunities to support the hair and beauty sector over the coming years.

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