CHCSA and Ooosh! Hair Academy train five at-risk youth for job readiness.
Contribution By Valerie Lim
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
“Do I deserve a second chance?” This phrase often echoes in the minds of many school dropouts, some of whom are tagged with court cases, and others who come from dysfunctional families, with little hope of ever changing their circumstances.
Thankfully, there are people out there who believe that they do deserve second chances.
These five young people who are part of City Harvest Community Services Association’s youth outreach programs now have a chance to fulfill their dreams of being a hairstylist, thanks to Ooosh! Hair Academy.
Ooosh! was founded in 2009, by a group of like-minded friends who wanted to contribute to society. Helmed by award-winning hairstylist Perry TJ, Ooosh! has a vision to give youth-at-risk and out-of-school youths a head start in life—offering these young aspiring hairstylists a chance to train at the academy and hone their hairstyling skills.
To achieve their community endeavor, Ooosh! invited CHCSA to be its partner in offering mentorship and life skills training to provide a wholesome curriculum for these youths. Through this collaboration, academically-challenged youths can have hope for a bright future and a second chance at succeeding in life.
To kick start their hairstyling course at Ooosh!, a Job Readiness Workshop was specially designed by CHCSA and conducted at the Ooosh! Hair Academy shopfront located in Delfi Orchard. The workshop ran over three days from April 21 to 23, aimed to prepare these five youth for the demands of the workforce.
The Ooosh! hairstyling course is student-focused and designed to maintain a small teacher-student ratio. Class size is kept small, with the current batch of students totaling just five. The course is fully professional, spanning an intensive six-month period, catering to a holistic development of the youths by teaching both hard skills of hairstyling and soft skills of customer service.
Trainers, Eden Sim and Shalynne Pek, from CHCSA, conscientiously tailored the workshop according to the needs of the five participants, covering essential and different objectives each day. These are the second batch of students to undergo the hairstyling course at Ooosh!. “Keeping the class small helps us to center the curriculum on the individual youth,” says Sim.
The Job Readiness Workshop prepares the students by helping them learn the importance of goal setting. Through the use of experiential learning methods such as role-play and interactive activities, students are also acquainted with various facets of customer service, such as, emotion management and self-awareness.
Other aspects of the workshop included a personality test, which was to help students understand themselves and each other better; the students had fun discovering each other’s quirks, strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own. Most importantly, the students were educated on the Employment Act and financial management.
The three-day workshop ended off with the students getting involved in completing interesting activities—putting what they had learned into practice. Filled with determination and focus, the students displayed camaraderie, patience, and persistence in trying until they accomplished their task. The students learned that every customer is important and every individual plays a crucial role in determining the satisfaction of each customer.
All five students graduated from the workshop with a certificate awarded by Ooosh! and CHCSA.
Aldonis Low, 17, one of the five involved in the workshop, felt that the workshop was useful as it was his first time setting goals and planning for his future. Steven Tay, 23, who has work experience as a sales assistant, mentioned that the workshop met his expectations as he got to learn more about communication skills. The interactive activities played a crucial part in increasing his problem-solving skills.
The Job Readiness Workshop was but the beginning of a new phase in the lives of these enthusiastic young people as they prepared to embark on the hairstyling course that commenced on April 26.
Throughout the course, the students will be working closely with the staff at Ooosh! to learn the tools of the trade, and simultaneously, social workers and mentors from CHCSA will be monitoring their progress, and guiding them in making the right life choices.
To sign up for upcoming hairstyling courses at Ooosh! Hair Academy, commencing on August 11 and November 15 respectively, please contact Shalynne Pek at 6835 9916 or e-mail to email@example.com.