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Learning the 'active ingredients' to Narelle's teaching success

TAFE Queensland Mooloolaba beauty teacher Narelle Crick knows how to create a relaxing environment for day spa clients, but when it comes to herself, she’d prefer not to ‘rest’ on her laurels.

Narelle Crick was awarded the honour of being the 2021 VET Teacher of the Year in the North Coast regional final of the Queensland Training Awards, gaining recognition for her dedicated training style.

Originally a hairdresser, Narelle had a clear thirst for knowledge and soon began learning beauty, and subsequently, how to teach beauty. However, her eagerness to expand her skills has only continued to grow, with Narelle undertaking several more qualifications within her industry throughout her teaching career. Her current focus is on completing her Graduate Diploma of Dermal Science, after recently finishing a Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Makeup Services) (CUA51015).

“Over the last few years, my downtime has been largely consumed by extra study and updating my own skills. I am a big believer in continuing your learning journey," Narelle said.

"Our beauty students need to be regularly researching and advancing their knowledge on products, ingredients and current industry trends, and when they’ve graduated and are working in industry, they need to continuously update their skills."

Narelle currently teaches the Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics (SHB20116)Certificate III in Beauty Services (SHB30115)Certificate III in Nail Technology (SHB30315)Certificate III in Makeup (SHB30215) and the Diploma of Beauty Therapy (SHB50115) at TAFE Queensland's Mooloolaba campus training salon. And one of the core reasons she’s undertaking the aforementioned Graduate Diploma of Dermal Science herself is to be able to expand TAFE Queensland’s future training offerings.

“There is a real shift towards anti-ageing cosmetic beauty treatments, as they are less invasive than surgery and get great results," Narelle said.

"We are also seeing an increase in men having treatments and purchasing skincare. The (beauty) industry is absolutely booming in terms of technology (laser, skin-needling, etc), ingredients, purchasing and demand for services, so beauty therapists are naturally going to be in demand too. This is a fantastic industry to join.”

A teaching ‘natural’, Narelle was encouraged to take up educating after her own beauty teacher observed her patient and dedicated approach to assisting her fellow classmates. Serendipitously, that same teacher is now a colleague, working alongside Narelle at TAFE Queensland.

“It was probably the ‘mum’ in me that Susan (Young) saw. I can’t help myself; if someone is doing something and I think I have an easier way to get the same or better result, I just have to show them," Narelle said.

"Patience – having patience and encouraging my students to have patience – that’s what being a good teacher is all about. Not everything comes naturally to everyone, but have patience, trust the process and practise, practise, practise."

"I just love seeing students thrive and find their passion."

And ‘thrive’ they do; Narelle’s teaching has seen one of her students receive the TAFE Queensland Student of the Year Award, and two of her beauty students follow in her footsteps by joining the TAFE Queensland beauty teaching staff themselves.

“Passion and enthusiasm are contagious, I feel. As a beauty therapist, I love it when I have a client with skin concerns, and with my treatments and skincare advice we transform their skin, helping to re-build their confidence and self-esteem by looking good. It’s incredibly rewarding," Narelle said.

"The impact you can make to someone’s life shouldn’t be underestimated, and given that Australians spend $22 billion a year on beauty products and services, there’s clear demand for, and longevity in this career path."