GOTAFE beauty graduate opts to stay local

At only 24 years of age, GOTAFE alumni and beautician Vanessa Sibio has opened her own beauty salon, Ciao Bella Beauty Lounge, in Shepparton.

Vanessa began as a GOTAFE Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) student, which sparked her passion for the industry. By end of Year 11 she was a fully qualified beautician.

After completing her Victorian Certificate of Education, Vanessa continued to build on her VETiS knowledge and completed both a Diploma and Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy.

Vanessa said she had benefited from the ability to study locally at GOTAFE.

“I chose to enrol in GOTAFE because it was the most convenient and offered flexibility that let me continue to work while studying at home,” said Vanessa.

“Not having to move away made it a lot easier and I was able to save money.”

A week after completing her studies with GOTAFE, Vanessa began full-time employment with Wellsprings Day Spa in Shepparton.

She said the skills and hands-on industry experience gained from her studies ensured a smooth transition into a real-world environment.

Her time at Wellsprings Day Spa further encouraged Vanessa to take the next step of opening her own salon.

Since opening Ciao Bella Beauty Lounge, Vanessa has been kept busy with appointments.

Ciao Bella Beauty Lounge is in Fryers St, Shepparton, across the road from GOTAFE’s campus.

“I love the fact that GOTAFE is where I trained and now I have been able to open my own shop just across the road,” she said.


Last week GOTAFE’s Hairdressing Department received one of the industry’s highest ticks of approval when it was awarded a Certificate of Accreditation by the Australian Hairdressing Council.

Awarded in recognition of Educational Leadership, GOTAFE joins a select group of accredited registered training providers (RTO’s), one of just three TAFE providers in Victoria.

“The Accreditation process focuses heavily on benchmarks set by industry. They were looking for the highest quality training by industry relevant Trainers, and we have come out on top,” explained GOTAFE Partnership Engagement Manager Kate Storer.

The Australian Hairdressing Council Director of Education and Training, Wendy Blair, conducted the Accreditation for GOTAFE at the end of 2016 and cannot speak more highly of the Institute.

“GOTAFE is amazing and are some of the best advocates for industry that I’ve seen in a government institution. Their staff know what industry want; they are fantastic people in the right job.”

Along with Educational Leadership, GOTAFE was assessed against six additional standards to achieve accreditation:

  • Standard 1: Educational Leadership
  • Standard 2: Recognition – offering recognition for in-salon and product company training
  • Standard 3: Communication and Industry Engagement
  • Standard 4: Training and Assessment Resources
  • Standard 5: Currency of Staff – Hairdressing skills and VET knowledge and skills
  • Standard 6: Salon Design, Operation and Clients
  • Standard 7: Environmental and Social Responsibility

“GOTAFE engages well with community, and importantly, their training meets the business needs of local salons. You can be confident that GOTAFE graduates are well trained and well prepared to meet the needs of industry now and into the future. It’s a great win for industry.”

GOTAFE joins The Gordon Institute of TAFE and Federation University as the only accredited RTO’s in Victoria.

GOTAFE are now accepting Hairdressing Apprentice enrolments. For further details visit or call 1300 GOTAFE (468 233).

Where Are They Now | Laura Bell

Laura never thought that she would own and manage her own business at 21!

Laura was exposed to the hairdressing world at a young age, thanks to her hairdressing Mum. Growing up around the industry made her intrigued to be a part of it and follow in her Mothers footsteps.

Laura started attending the VETis school program in Hairdressing once a week while still attending Secondary School. This allowed her to get an early introduction to the Hairdressing industry.

“The course wasn’t easy. It was full-on, I was working part time, attending school and going to TAFE once a week. Even though it was full-on, it was worth it”.

Laura’s Trainer, Carmel was a great support to her. Having a Trainer with a wide range of experience in hairdressing allowed Laura and her classmates to learn a lot of additional skills. Read more…

Where Are They Now? Tamara Giggins

At 22, Tamara Giggins is achieving great things.

In May 2015 she opened her own Hairdressing Salon, Tamara’s Hair Boutique in Wangaratta and hasn’t looked back. The business is going from strength to strength with existing clients booking in advance to secure their next appointment and a 6-8 week waiting period for new clients.

Tamara got her first taste of hairdressing and beauty when she studied Certificate II in Hairdressing in 2010 then Certificate II in Retail Cosmetics at GOTAFE in 2011 while at Secondary School. She discovered a passion for Hairdressing and went on to complete her Certificate II in Hairdressing the following year.

“My cousins were hairdressers and I used to have my hair changed all the time. It looked fun so I thought I would give it a go.”

After leaving school, Tamara was offered an Apprenticeship. Because she wanted to stay in Wangaratta, she studied at GOTAFE every Monday and worked the rest of the week in the Salon. She loved the fact she didn’t have to travel to Melbourne and could learn in her home town with a local Hairdresser. She completed her hairdressing studies and Apprenticeship in 2014.

“I really enjoyed my experience with GOTAFE. The training was challenging as all trades are but I had the best teachers, Liz K and Carmel Cook, to work through my studies and Monica Lockyer with beauty, who is still one of the best teachers out there.”

Tamara has had on-going training with colour companies and other qualified Hairdressers to better her skills and learn other techniques.

“You never know everything, there is always room for more learning as a Hairdresser.”

Tamara believes Hairdressing and Beauty is a very hard industry as you are in people’s faces all the time and always talking.

“It’s not for the faint hearted and you are on your feet for long hours. We are not perfect but if you work hard, make mistakes and learn from them you will be an excellent Hairdresser/Beauty Therapist. Most of all be passionate and have fun.”

Tamara has just taken on a qualified Hairdresser and hopes to employ an Apprentice next year. She wants to give them the best possible experience and start in their career. 

Tamara’s next goal is to expand and move into a new salon next year. Having qualifications in both Hair and Beauty, Tamara says she is able to offer clients more and this has paid off in the long run.

“I could not imagine doing anything else in my life. I love making people feel beautiful and making them feel good about themselves.”

Students Swapped Their Scissors for Stretches

Get moving and get motivated was the takeaway message from a recent health and wellbeing seminar held at GOTAFE during August.

TEC Hair and Beauty students at GOTAFE’s Seymour, Shepparton and Wangaratta Campuses were visited by a representative from POSACTIVITY, Matt Dillon.

POSACTIVITY focuses on physical activity to motive the mind and body. Through a series of simple 30 minute activities, Matt encouraged the students to get moving, he helped them to identify parts of the body that hold tension and gave them techniques to release that tension and negative energy.

GOTAFE Hair and Beauty Trainer and industry representative, Carmel Cook recognised the need to step away from traditional study methods to further motivate the students.

“The students are half way through the study year and have been enthusiastic and committed to their studies but we all know that sometimes it is challenging to see the end goal, especially for some of these students who are juggling study, part-time jobs, social commitments and just being a teenager,” she said.

“We wanted to encourage our students to reach their goals and remind them, whilst the journey to get there will take some effort, the rewards will far out way any negatives.

“We sought the assistance of Matt Dillon from POSACTIVITY because we all know that physical movement has a positive impact on feeling energised and motivated and we want our students to put their best foot forward when entering into related hair and beauty industries.

“The students were also addressed by representatives from GOTAFE’s Skills and Job Hub as well as student services, outlining to students the available support in both job seeking and pathways as well as learning strategies for dealing with life’s challenges.

“Industry representatives also gave accounts of their own learning pathways and journeys as well as valuable insight into industry expectations when entering into the workforce.”

Posactivity has a passion for sharing physical activity sessions which incorporate positive psychology and fun meaningful movement to help people improve their health and wellbeing and optimise their participants life.

Hair Salon Benefits Young & Old

GOTAFE have formed an exciting new partnership with the Rumbalara Elders Facility in the use of their hair and beauty salon.

Residents have welcomed the students with open arms, explained GOTAFE Hair & Beauty Commercial Manager Kate Storer.

“We have received very promising feedback already, after only a couple of visits.”

“Our aim is to provide our students with the skills industry demand – which also includes working with people from all walks of life, different cultures and ages.”

“The aim of this project is for students to learn to manage and operate a small but busy salon during the later stages of their training with GOTAFE. The students will be required to implement all aspects of their hairdressing training including appointment booking, treatments, ordering and stock take, salon management, and time management, while under the supervision of our highly qualified Trainers. The staff only step in when required to allow students the freedom to really explore their capability.”

GOTAFE Hairdressing students will visit the Rumbalara Elder Facility every Thursday to provide haircuts, blowaves, colour treatments & beauty services such as manicures explained GOTAFE Trainer Craig Ferguson.

“Students are learning what it means to give back to the community. One of our students was moved to tears after her first visit. She said the experience was one of the best in her life, knowing that the skills she has learnt can help lift the spirits of the elderly.”

“One resident has offered to paint an artwork for the salon. It has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm about this new salon in both our students and the Rumbalara Elder Facility staff and residents. We are looking forward to being part of this community.”

To celebrate the Crown Oaks Day and the Spring Racing Carnival, Rumbalara Elder Facility residents will be treated to a special Pampering Day by GOTAFE students on Thursday 5 November 2015. Hair and Beauty students will be offering manicures, blowaves and sets to residents, followed by a special High Tea luncheon.

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