Qualified at Kells

Kells Barbers in Papamoa is leading the way in barbering training

Owner Andrea Kell is passionate about her trade and about seeing people get qualified. At Kells Barbers, each person is either nationally qualified in barbering or currently working towards their qualification.

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Photo, left – right: Rebekah Pratt (qualified through an apprenticeship), Mokoia Brandon (current apprentice), Laura Wells (qualified through QbyE), Andrea Kell (qualified through QbyE), Sam Takai (current apprentice).

Andrea’s Story

“Qualifications are important because they let the client know they’re being looked after by an experienced, professional barber,” says Andrea. “Qualifications show that you’re serious about your trade because you‘ve invested not only financially but personally into your chosen vocation.”

For Andrea, getting qualified in barbering was something she had always intended to do. She had initially completed City and Guilds hairdressing training in the United Kingdom before discovering her love for barbering, but she had no formal qualifications. After opening Kells Barbers in 2011 she got in touch with HITO and got qualified using QbyE. QbyE, which stands for Qualification by Experience, is all about helping people get qualified using the of experience – gaining their national qualification.

Andrea wanted to get qualified so she could train apprentices. She believes it’s the responsibility of all experienced barbers to pass on their skills and knowledge. While signing-up to train your first apprentice can be scary, Andrea says it’s rewarding as well.

“I was nervous when I committed to training my first apprentice, but it was an amazing experience and an education for me too. It makes you rediscover the industry all over again. Once they’re trained you know they’ll not only have the skills you taught them, but they’ll also gain your work ethic. You know that your business is in great hands when you’re not there. You’ll be acquiring an asset for you and your business.”

One thing that Andrea particularly enjoys about training apprentices is watching them grow and develop in confidence and skill over time. Andrea has witnessed first-hand how someone who is shy and nervous can be transformed into a confident and amazing barber over 15 months.

“It’s fantastic to see how the apprentices mature, gain confidence and develop a genuine and exciting passion for barbering. I’m very proud to say that Kells now has three qualified barbers and two first year apprentices who are currently in training. In 12 months I will be looking for another apprentice.”

Along with the other perks of being qualified, Andrea also likes the way it shows that women can be just as successful and capable as males in the barbering industry.

“I’m still amazed at how many men do not accept female barbers because they still regard us as hairdressers. The fact that they can see that I’m a qualified barber may teach them that female barbers are as capable as our fellow male barbers.”

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