Graduate to help care leavers find career

Kirsty Watson, founder, Qualia Beauty Academy
Kirsty Watson, founder, Qualia Beauty Academy
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A Huddersfield University graduate has launched a beauty therapy college that hopes to support care leavers and victims of domestic abuse by providing training opportunities in the beauty sector.

Kirsty Watson, 34, graduated with a BA in interactive multimedia in 2011, before going on to qualify as a beauty and aesthetics professional in 2013.

The entrepeneur opened her own salon, Qualia Skin Specialists in Denby Dale, which offers a range of treatments, from those targeted at ageing or problematic skin, to semi-permanent make-up.

She said: “I was initially interested in becoming a skin specialist, to manage my own acne.

“After taking charge of the situation, I found various ways of managing my acne and I now provide the same service and combination of treatments here at Qualia to help people with their skin conditions and to manage and maintain younger and healthier looking skin.”

Qualia Aesthetics and Beauty Academy offers industry-accredited qualifications alongside web design, print and marketing training for aspiring beauticians who want to set up their own business.

Ms Watson, who spent time in care as a child, plans to offer scholarships to care leavers and others in difficult situations in future. She said: “For a lot of young people in care, further education just isn’t an option.

“I hope to be able to show them that this doesn’t have to be the case and if they want to go on to further study they can, they just have to be shown how.”

Huddersfield University’s Enterprise Team, based in The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre, supported Ms Watson in founding the academy.

Ms Watson is now in the process of becoming a qualified hairdresser to expand the salon’s services.