It’s been an exciting start to the second half of the year for Scotland’s largest salon group, Rainbow Room International, as a group of their apprentices flew out to the beautiful and architectural town of Lanciano in Italy for a two week long Italian Exchange Trip.
Director of the Rainbow Room International Academy, Laura Leigh Kerr, organised the exchange, following a parternship with Light On The Path, a work placement company, who they had previously arranged a Swedish Exchange Programme with. The programme saw two girls from Sweden come to Rainbow Room International for a two-week work placement and two trainees from Rainbow Room International visiting Sweden. Following the success of this project, Leigh wanted to apply for a bigger project and more funding to allow more students to take advantage of the amazing opportunity. Following the approval of funding, twelve Rainbow Room International trainees in two groups of six, were booked on the Italian Exchange Trip.
Leigh was delighted to have the funding approved for the trip, allowing her to reward her students for their hard work, have something to aspire to and offering them the chance to gain not just work experience, but also real life experience – travelling without their families, working different shift patterns and understanding the way hairdressers work differently in salons around the world. Students got the fantastic opportunity to work in the beautiful surroundings of Italy, learn more about the culture and understand the language barriers.
On Saturday’s arrival in Lanciano, Leigh and Training Director, Nikki, settled the apprentices in. On Sunday, the group went shopping for their accommodation and had a team pizza night to meet the Italian Partners, Connect Abruzzo. On Monday, the group took part in a treasure hunt to learn more about the area, the town of Lanciano and its history before carrying out their Salon Introductions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Students started work on Thursday through to Saturday before having two days off on Sunday and Monday where they got the chance to visit the beach, take part in a pasta making class and also do a day trip to Rome. It was all work but also play as the students also got the chance to visit a number of restaurants and pizzerias, expanding their palette trying out delicious new foods.
The project was designed so that all students felt they had their own independence and the Academy Directors and Trainers left Lanciano after four days, leaving the students in the hands of Connect Abruzzo, who were always on hand to guide the students to where they needed to be and provide them with support where required.
On return from the first group trip, the students provided the following feedback:
Ellie Addison; Rainbow Room International George Square “The trip was great for life skills, it put you out of your comfort zone and it really improves your independence as you get an idea of moving out. I have just qualified and I definitely thing the trip has improved my confidence and people skills, which came at great timing now that I am dealing with my own clients. It was also incredible to see how universal a job hairdressing is – you can go anywhere with it. We are fortunate for being offered this opportunity, as it’s not often you hear about other salons providing these types of experiences.”
Chloe Murray; Rainbow Room International Bearsden “They get a lot of clients with dark hair in Italy and they loved us teaching them what we know about blondes – what products we would use in the salon and what techniques we would use on our blonde hair clients.”
Alana Robertson; Rainbow Room International Howard Street Academy “One thing I loved to learn more about during my time in Lanciano was about the different products they use on client’s hair. With the weather being warmer and more humid there, it was interesting to hear about the products they use to make the hair smoother and sleeker.”
Ellie Griffin; Rainbow Room International Royal Exchange Square “The pasta class was one of my favourite parts of the trip and seeing the churches, which are completely different from here.”
Robbie McLaughlin; Rainbow Room International Crow Road “The Pasta class was definitely one of my favourite things that I did, and also going to Rome.”
Olivia Fletcher; Rainbow Room International Buchanan Street “I loved seeing the beach and also working together in the salon. The trip brought everyone closer together and we now have a friendship for life.”
Commenting on the success of the trip, Laura Leigh Kerr, Rainbow Room International Academy Director, said, “I’m so glad all the students had an incredible time during their trip to Italy – it was an amazing opportunity for them, where they could experience a different lifestyle and build on their life skills, whilst improving their confidence and self-esteem. The group got to learn from the team in the salons, but they also got to teach them what they know and how we do things in the UK too, making it a mutually beneficial partnership. I am very passionate about being able to offer our apprentices these unique opportunities and hopefully it is something we will continue for a long time to come!”