Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

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My honest Spa Journey (including the ups and downs!)

Amy Pic


by Amy Harper


I fell into this industry (with a slight push from a frustrated parent) after back and forth about what I wanted to do with myself, who knows what they want to do when they’re 16?

I arrived at the college with my baggy jeans, dirty trainers and hoody (a very unlikely candidate for a beauty therapist) not knowing what to expect and certainly not knowing it would be one of the best decisions I will ever make.

I faced a lot of disappointment from teachers and even friends that I wasn’t taking A-levels or pursuing a university degree.
College seemed to be viewed as the option for those who didn’t have ‘strong academic skills’ and beauty as an ‘easy’ subject for girls who like painting nails.
I saw it a practical skill that can take me in many directions and even if I didn’t want to go onto beauty straight away I could use it later in life, as it turns out I was correct and it’s also taken me all over the world and onto many paths resulting in a job I am truly passionate about.

I luckily ignored the raised eyebrows and negative comments about my chosen career and embraced the fact that I has found a course that suddenly made all the subjects I disliked at school come into focus, for example science a subject I had never enjoyed, I now found incredibly interesting, l loved learning about biology, the body and its systems and how they connected to practical skills I was being shown.

I used my new career to work in top spa’s, beautiful 5-star hotels/resorts and worked my way up to a senior level very quickly.
I have worked in Australia and travelled the world, as well as trying many different positions as Spa Manager, Events & Retail specialist and Teaching.

Interestingly I have been happier in my career than some of my friends who chose to go to university and now don’t use their degree.
Everyone has their own path and way of learning and I try to never judge how they get there or indeed what they choose to do.

I was very fortunate to have some incredible tutors at college whose passion shined through, they wanted to pass on their knowledge and saw my potential.
I have come across teachers in all forms of education who don’t seem to enjoy their roles, which I’m sad to say has a huge impact on their learners.

I have been in the Beauty and Spa Industry for over 15 years and seen many trends come and go, therapist flourish and therapists leave, I’ve previously been in very stressful management positions that nearly broke me but also worked with incredible people I shall never forget.

I have found my true passion in teaching and I am very lucky to be working as Spa Training and Development Manager for a company and skincare brand that really invest in progression, and value me for my knowledge.

Philema Hospitality Management (which consist of Fistral Beach Hotel & Spa, Esplanade Hotel, Boringdon Hall Hotel, Gaia Spa Boringdon and Gaia skincare) have taken me on to ensure our spa team have the best start in their career and receive high quality training from the moment they start.

Part of my role is spa recruitment which I really enjoy, it’s never a dull day as every interview is different and I really enjoy meeting new people and potential therapists I can train.

Recruiting has its difficulties, most recently candidates seem to struggle to communicate with me and guests when interviewing or starting a new role in hospitality. You can teach the practical skills and tick the boxes but acting professional and being able to care and interact with your guest is vital to be successful in this industry.

It’s hard to say where the timid attitude in has emerged from.
Perhaps I was lucky not suffer with extreme shyness and I grew up socialising with family and older adults so I could hold conversations and make small talk with some ease.

I have performed several talks with the local colleges and hope to stay involved in the future, where I discuss what’s expected of you from an employer’s point of view and how to present yourself at interviews.

Its already hard for the colleges to squeeze in so much content in a short time without having to focus on guest care and socialising but perhaps this is something we’ll need to consider in the future?



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Thursday, 06 August 2020