College bosses in South Tyneside have sharpened barber training by doubling the size of its salon.
An extra 16 work stations have been added to its barber training shop at South Tyneside College, bringing the number to 30 - making it one of the biggest such centres in the region.
Education chiefs say the expansion and refurbishment has allowed it to match an increase in people from their teens to 50s looking to work in the sector.
Fifty-six students are currently learning skills which include trims and wet shaves at the college’s Westoe campus in St Georges Avenue, South Shields – and there are opportunities for others.
Hairdressing lecturer Donna Easton said the sector was popular with men and woman – and new enrolment was starting this month to coincide with the salon’s official reopening.
She said: “The college has always had excellent barbering facilities, and now they are even better. We needed to expand due to the high number of people of all ages who wanted to learn the many skills associated with barbering.
“It has always been a hugely popular profession, but never more so than today.”
She added: “We also teach and gain qualifications for people who are already working as barbers in salons and who realise the importance of gaining a qualification to go with their already fine-tuned skills.
“I hope as many as possible will join us and take advantage of the skills and facilities we offer.
“The department is quite exceptional, and there is nowhere better in the North East to train.”
Donna forms the key barbering team with award-winning Allan Stone, owner of Stoney’s barbershop in South Shields, and a certified master barber.
Male customers of any age can pop in, without an appointment, to be given their favourite style.
Donna added: “The salon is constantly busy with people coming along for a trim or styling.”
South Tyneside College is part of the new Tyne Coast College.
Alison Maynard, principal of South Tyneside College, said: “This expansion is a wonderful example of the college targeting resources towards demand.
“Barbering is a profession that has grown increasingly popular – it offers a highly skilled career to men and women of all ages.
“Our barbering facilities are the best in this region, and our lecturers likewise.”
The college runs barbering courses from level 1 to level 3 for students aged 16 and over.
More information is available by calling 0191 427 3900 or visiting www.stc.ac.uk