Ahead of the ITEC and VTCT Lecturer's Meeting at Professional Beauty Ireland, Runa McNamara, International Commercial Director, answers our questions!

What types of courses do you offer? 

Do you feel learner experience has changed over recent years and if so, how has ITEC and VTCT championed this?

Feedback from our research clearly shows that the ability to train through a blended learning approach is most desired amongst learners. The rapid advancement of technology means awarding organisations must adapt by anticipating and listening to the market’s needs. ITEC and VTCT have been at the forefront of this e.g. offering e-portfolios and even acquiring edtech specialist Digital Assess last year. We have a new partnership with Pivot Point for resources for our Hair and Barber qualifications, which will allow us to continue expanding our offerings to training providers, improving the learning experience and surpassing our already high standards.

The hair and beauty industries are diverse and exciting sectors to work in. How do you feel that roles in these areas have developed in the last number of years?

VTCT launched its Hair and Beauty Skills Foresight Report in the House of Commons on 19th July. The report reflects that although the traditional talents of old remain, they are now augmented with a whole new array of skills. Roles are becoming much more technical, requiring greater knowledge and skill, and salons are offering more holistic services which provide a whole new customer experience. Micro-needling and chemical peels are two examples of qualifications that are increasing in demand. As a result we are already developing a range of higher level Advanced Aesthetic qualifications.

The hair and beauty industries contribute enormously to the UK and Irish economies. Do you believe the industry receives the recognition it deserves in this respect?

These services are popular and ever more in demand. However from a training perspective, there is still a hurdle to jump so that parents, teachers and governments understand and give credit for the complexity and wealth of knowledge needed by learners undergoing training in these industries. A potential way forward is through National Registration for recognition of skills and qualifications and we are working with membership bodies and the industry so that one day soon this may be a reality in the UK and Ireland.

VTCT recently announced their acquisition of ITEC. With two such well respected organisations joining forces, what will this mean for colleges and where can lecturers find out more about potential changes and benefits this will involve?

Both ITEC and VTCT are delighted that 2 very like-minded specialist awarding organisations have joined forces. ITEC is very well-known and respected in Ireland and internationally for qualifications with the rigour of and standardisation of an exams system. VTCT has followed the UK assessment and quality assurance approach to certification and is the leading awarding organisation for Beauty Therapy in the UK. Together we offer more flexibility with a greater range of qualifications, support and resources to suit training providers and learners and to also meet industry needs.

Where can people find out more about the services you offer?

ITEC/VTCT will be on the PB Live Stage at Professional Beauty Ireland at 11am on Monday 25 September. Register HERE for your free ticket to the show.