"My hairdresser would often get mad at me because I'd be turning my head and looking at what was going on around me — I was so curious about salons at a young age," laughed Cory.
He had the same curiosity throughout high school and had an interest in becoming a hairdresser, but enrolled to study education under the advice of a teacher.
"I was steered towards university by a well-meaning teacher, but after a few months, I knew that teaching wasn't for me."
"Then I chatted with mum and she told me just to follow my gut and do whatever feels right. So I applied for an apprentice role with Oscar Oscar, supported by TAFE Queensland, the salon’s training partner," explained Cory.
His apprenticeship saw a TAFE Queensland teacher visit Cory every month to train and assess his technical skills to become a hairdresser, earning him a Certificate III in Hairdressing (SHB30416) along the way.
This partnership is just one example of TAFE Queensland's relevant industry connections, which are vital for guiding students through their education and giving them insights into the workplace before they qualify.
Oscar Oscar has proudly been associated with TAFE Queensland for 10 years, and together have trained over 600 first-year apprentices to become fully qualified hairdressers.
The training is provided by Oscar Oscar professional stylists and TAFE Queensland teachers and takes place in each salon, maximising each apprentice’s time spent learning.
Throughout his training Cory gained the practical skills he needed to work as a hairdresser, building his confidence and skills while confirming he’d made the right career choice.
From salon operations, basin services, and colouring and lightening, to the design and cutting of client's hair, Cory's training put him on the path to the successful career he's now enjoying.
"From the basics of client consultation to the technical aspects of design and shaping hairstyles, my TAFE Queensland teacher taught me the fundamentals to help customers express and feel great about themselves," he said.
Since following his instinct to become a hairdresser and completing his qualification in 2019, Cory feels he's answered his life's calling by working in his dream industry with a fantastic team around him.
"The salon team at Oscar Oscar made me feel so welcome right from the start, and with their help my skills have boomed — I love working with them," said Cory.
"There's nothing that compares to hairdressing, and I'm lucky to have a job that gives me instant satisfaction each time I see the elation on a client's face when they see the result of my work — it fills me with immense pride."
"My teacher gave my career an incredible start by teaching me formulas, colours, cutting, angles and other complicated hairdressing skills, and checking in to ensure I was making progress."
"The support from TAFE Queensland and my team at Oscar Oscar has set me so up so well for a career as a hairdresser."
Having been with Oscar Oscar for six years now, Cory wants to stay long term because the team environment is so great, and he loves using his skills to help people every day.
"I love working in this industry where I can connect with clients to help make them feel good about themselves. I also love seeing clients leave happy and confident with their hair."
"I'm so grateful that I followed my instincts, applied for the role six years ago and had the opportunity to study with TAFE Queensland's amazing teachers while working at Oscar Oscar."