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Melbourne Storm footy recruit, Stanley, gets the ball rolling on his career goals

Ipswich local and Kutjala man, Stanley Huen, is kicking goals on the footy field while keeping his eyes firmly on his future career goal: owning his own barber shop.

After graduating from Ipswich Grammar School in 2022, the talented footy player has been contracted to play for the Melbourne Storm Academy as a pathway into the National Rugby League (NRL). But Stanley, or Stan, as his mates call him, is already looking further afield, and planning for his career beyond professional rugby.

“The end goal is to hopefully make it in the NRL and open my own barbering business, so my fan base from the NRL feeds into my barber shop business,” he said.

“I have a backup plan, and it's a pretty good back up plan if you ask me.”

Stan undertook a Certificate III in Barbering (SHB30516) school-based apprenticeship while completing his senior studies at Ipswich Grammar School.

“I went to work one day a week during the school term, and then during holidays I would do a block of training at the TAFE Queensland Ipswich campus for a week straight. Plus, just do as much of my work books as I could,” said Stan.

“I basically doubled my hours just over the holidays, and I was working every Saturday.”

“I didn't think of it as work though. I just thought of it as having fun and spending time with my mates,” Stan added.

After working in a number of salon environments during his school-based apprenticeship, Stan feels well prepared for the fast-paced nature of the job.

“I’ve worked at two barber shops now and it's a bit different to TAFE Queensland when you have real models walking in, at a real barber shop,” he explained.

“There’s a constant stream of clients and you’ve got to learn to pick up your speed because you don’t want to keep people waiting.”

Learning the latest techniques and trends, along with making new friends, were the most enjoyable aspects of his barbering school-based apprenticeship experience, according to Stan.

“I've learnt techniques to make fading easier, which really helps me in the long run. As well as, how to do tracks and zigzags or anything free design. Whatever the trend is,” he said.

“Plus, meeting new people and learning new techniques – everyone is in need of a haircut. With barbering, I’m not going to be out of work. So, I’ve really enjoyed that.”

Balancing his school studies and footy training with his school-based apprenticeship, Stan felt supported and encouraged by TAFE Queensland’s industry-experienced teachers.

“They're very flexible, fair, and they go the extra mile if you need help,” he said.

“What I've enjoyed the most about TAFE Queensland training is that when I come in I don’t need to bring any equipment or anything. Everything is here. It's a beautiful barber shop.”

TAFE Queensland’s Certificate III in Barbering (SHB30516) has been designed for barbers-in-training to gain hands-on experience in modern barbering techniques, as well as insight into the essentials of successful salon operations including stock management, building and retaining clientele, and processing financial transactions.

TAFE Queensland Ipswich’s training salon, is one of a number of fully equipped hairdressing and barbering training facilities around the state. Replicating a real-life salon environment, students have access to a full range of products and equipment at their fingertips.

TAFE Queensland Ipswich Hairdressing Teacher, Lisa Moore, is an advocate for the benefits of school-based apprenticeships and is encouraging of other high school students who are considering kick-starting their career in the industry. 

“Doing a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship is a great way to get started,” Ms Moore said. 

“School-based apprentices can earn while they learn, gaining hands-on experience in a real job – meaning that school-based apprentices are a step ahead when they graduate high school and transition into full time employment.”

“Stan is a wonderful ambassador for barbering school-based apprenticeships, and it’s been great to see him successfully combine his two passions: footy and barbering.” 

For those considering a career in the industry, Stan has some encouraging words of advice.

“If you really want to pursue a dream and make it a reality, I’d really encourage you to come to TAFE Queensland, because all the teachers have your best interests at heart. They always push you and always motivate you to achieve your best potential.”