A ONCE-BUSY and overbooked hairdressing course is now struggling to survive.

Now a plea has been made for people to look at Essex County Council’s Adult Community Learning (ACL) courses in Harwich.

About three years ago it was announced that ACL would be leaving the Harwich Arts and Heritage Centre, at the Mayflower School and courses wouldn’t run there anymore.

But the hair department managed to rent the salon and classroom and stay inside the building.

Gemma Deex, who is the hairdressing tutor at ACL, said: “Since this has happened, even more people think that the department has closed or are simply not aware that it is there.

“Numbers have dwindled rapidly as a result.

“A few years ago, all classes were full, and we had a waiting list, but now numbers are few and the courses struggle to run.

“They are advertised on the ACL website, but people are not aware we still have this amazing facility in Harwich.”

Tania Shurlock, tutor and assessor at ACL, said: “We are looking at ways of improving.

“When the courses in Colchester are filled up, people are redirected to Harwich.

“But we don’t seem to have many referrals.

“Even if people are redirected, most of the times they are put off because they can’t afford public transport.

“Another problem is that up until two years ago we used to take under 19 years old on board.

“But now, this has changed, so I feel there’s a bit of a gap in the market.

“ACL college no longer possess the building at Harwich and many courses were moved to Colchester or Clacton.

“They looked to come out of Harwich completely, but it is the hair tutors who have pushed to keep the centre open, including local salon owner, Gemma Deex, as we feel there is a need for an adult college in the area which is ever-growing.

“Over the years we have changed local peoples lives by giving them a new career, some of which now have their own salon businesses.

“As well as a new skill, they can learn employability skills and improve their English and Maths, progressing to level 3


The courses range from getting started in hairdressing to level 2 and 3 qualifications. ACL Harwich is interviewing on September 17 for level 2 hairdressing course.

The level 2 hairdressing course teaches students to cut, colour and much more and has available spaces from September 25.

These courses can get funding via a skills funding agency if certain criteria are met by the learners.

Mrs Deex added: “This year we are also offering a barbering course alongside the hairdressing level 2 course and can provide free haircuts for gents for the trainees to practice on.

“The courses are perfect for people that have children or want to start a new career in hairdressing as they are run in term time between 9.39am to 2.30pm.

“This is another great opportunity for adults aged 19 and above in Harwich and surrounding areas to develop new skills in hairdressing and barbering.”

ACL Harwich is interviewing on September 17 for level 2 hairdressing course.

Interviews are being held in Clacton on September, 16 for the level 2 hairdressing courses in Harwich.