60 Second Interview: Fashion & beauty teacher

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Beauty equipment

Elyse has come a long way in the 9 years since she discovered the fashion and beauty industry - today, she tells us why she loves teaching others the tricks of the trade. She also reveals how fashion and beauty can take you all over the world and lead to all manner of career paths.


Name: Elyse James

Company: LBTA

Industry: Fashion & Beauty

What is your job? Lecturer & assessor in media makeup, nail technology and beauty therapy

How long have you been doing this job? I have been at LBTA and a part of the team since August 2016


University: University of South Wales

Degree subject: PGCE

Other qualifications: NVQ level 2 & 3 beauty therapy, nail technology, level 4 media makeup

1. What was your very first job?

My first job was working at the local leisure centre in South Wales as a Children’s Party Coordinator. Whilst there I learnt my skills for patience and a steady hand in face painting, which later helped my career within the makeup and nail industry.

2. What did you want to do when you were at school?

I was unsure as to what I wanted to do when I left school. Having grown up in the country and being part of a large sporting family, my passions then were horses and sport. I was undecided between Sport Science and Equine Studies. I later decided to follow my sporting background and started a BTEC National Diploma in Sports Excellence.

3. How did you find out about the industry?

I learned a lot about teaching through my career as a fitness instructor and sports coach. The role taught me how motivate and encourage people, whilst being able to give clear instruction. I was introduced to the beauty industry in 2008 when I was a proud Miss Wales Finalist.

This then lead me on to a career path within the beauty industry and on to where I am today.

4. How did you get there?

I got where I am today through hard work, dedication and persistence. I am very lucky and thankful to be in the position I am and to be doing what I love… teaching!

Leading up to my career in teaching I have been on quite a journey. I started out face painting in children’s parties, but knew instantly I wanted to learn and earn more. I have on many occasions worked two, sometimes three jobs at one time whilst studying in beauty therapy, media makeup and nail technology. I then went on to my PGCE degree.

My career has varied from face painting to fitness instructing, working in salons as a beauty therapist, as a makeup artist working in TV, film and theatre and this may be hard to believe, but I have also been an auxiliary firefighter for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Department. But all the variation I've experienced has given me the skills and ability to be where I am today and I can honestly say you can achieve anything you wish. It is so very important to follow your dreams... I certainly have.

5. What is a typical day like?

My typical day starts with an half-hour commute from Buckinghamshire to The LBTA Chiswick Academy and that’s where all the fun begins.

At the Academy my days vary from teaching media makeup, nail technology and beauty therapy. I love the variation that my job offers and that I get to share my skills and knowledge thorough theory and practical lessons. I teach diverse students of all levels, age, gender, race and religions.

My day also consists of lesson planning, building resources and ensuring my learners have a wonderful, successful and supported learning experience.

6. What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is being able teach students new skills. I relish in being able to nurture their progress and development, enable them to become qualified beauty therapists, nail technicians and makeup artists. Being able to see each of them qualify, gain certificates, industry experience and employment is very rewarding.

7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?

The most challenging thing about my job is… travelling on the M25 every day! (Hahaha)

8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?

Study, study, study! You may not believe it at the time, but your education really is everything. Continue to gain as many qualifications as you possibly can to lead within your field and to help climb the ladder in future employment.

Also gain as much experience as you possibly can. Offer your time to shadow, assist and learn those all-important on the job skills such as communication and professionalism. This will later help you and your CV stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs.

Within the beauty industry always keep up to date with your skills and the latest industry trends. Attend trade shows, seminars and enter competitions. This raises your standards and status.

And always ask lots of questions... you can never stop learning!

9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?

How rewarding teaching is!

How large the beauty industry really is, how many different career paths it can lead you on, from working in TV, film, theatre, education, salons, spa’s, to cruise ships travelling the world (to name just a few).

There is a lot more to the Beauty industry than just ‘painting nails’. You will learn about subjects such as physiology and anatomy. You have to be prepared to work extremely hard and to practice the skills learned to survive and to be the best in a fast paced, constantly growing industry.

10. Where would you like to be in 5 years?

Managing one of our growing LBTA academies!

If Elyse has opened your eyes about the exciting variety of roles you can do, places you can go and people you can meet in the world of Fashion & Beauty, check out our dedicated Career Zone to see what careers you could pursue.

Image credits

Lead image via Pexels



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