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Barber June 14

Top York barber back where he cut his hairdressing teeth

A former student who has become a barbering big wig in York returned to campus this week to give a demonstration on skin fade techniques.

Chris Lane opened his Fishergate salon Rascal to Gentleman earlier this year on Fulford Road, having studied at York College from 2010 to 2012 during a two-year apprenticeship.

His tutor then was Fiona Scholes-Ogram, who invited him back to Sim Balk Lane to share his knowledge and tips with her current students on our Barbering Apprenticeship and Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Barbering courses.

Chris performed his skin fade demo on Paul Wright, a Facilities Officer from our Estates Department, with the students then copying the popular and fashionable haircut on other volunteer models as the guest barber stuck around for further guidance and advice.

Remembering Chris’ time as a student with fondness, Fiona explained how she hoped that, as well as serving as a means for passing on useful tips and skills, his visit would act as inspiration for her current students in relation to the kind of career they can aspire to with our help.

She said: “We’re really grateful to Chris for coming in and doing a great job for us with his demo. We’ve joked about his barber shop being called Rascal to Gentleman, as he was a bit of a rascal when I taught him – in a good way, but he was a typical young lad.

“He has built up his skills wonderfully but has had to work hard at it, which is the message we get over to our students as well. We’re not just teaching people to get the qualification – I want them to have a career in the industry and do what Chris has done.

“I’ve worked on ships due to hairdressing, so there are a lot of opportunities out there. You can travel the world and there aren’t many professions where you have the power to help make people feel and look better too.

“Seeing a former student progress so well and work his way up to owning his own shop is brilliant and it inspires the students because they see it could be them in years to come. I’ve already told them that I expect them to come back and do demos!”

Chris studied hairdressing one day a week on campus as part of his apprenticeship, before going on to specialise in barbering and, on his return to the place that helped launch his career, he said: “I loved it - the college still feels like it’s just been built and looks as new and smart as it did when I first came in 2010.

“I’m always willing to help people if I can and it’s important that students are around people who have been doing the job for a long time.”

Sharing a light-hearted example of his continued passion for the job, Chris added: “I often find myself watching football and then looking at the players’ different hairstyles to see if there’s anything different that I could be doing and, while the college can provide you with everything else, I think you always need that hunger, initiative and will too.”

It's that kind of initiative that has landed our adult learner Alana Howarth-Lees with a work experience opportunity at Rascal to Gentleman.

On learning that Chris was coming to deliver his demo, Alana contacted him on Instagram and is now spending Saturdays learning the trade in his popular salon.

“It’s not just about cutting hair and Alana’s also learning how the whole routine works in terms of the chat and how we treat customers and make them feel comfortable,” Chris pointed out.

Alana is due to qualify in September and, on how useful she found Chris’ demo, she said: “I’m really big on visual learning, so getting to see Chris do the steps and take the lines out in front of me was really useful. I feel like I know what I’m doing with skin fades now and that I can always refer back to the tutorial, especially in relation to the order of the guards, because I didn’t know that before.

“It was a real insight in to where I could be and made me a bit more passionate about that.”

On her experience studying at Sim Balk Lane, Alana enthused: “The tutoring here is really good for myself as an adult learner. They are really understanding of my situation having a child and it’s a welcoming environment if you are that bit older.

“The facilities are great too, as are the variety of colours and equipment you have for the barbering course.”

Ollie Swift, who is currently studying with us on an apprenticeship basis, also explained how he benefitted from Chris’ skin fade demo and gained encouragement from the former student’s success story.

“It was good to see somebody coming in from an actual barber’s shop to see if I’m doing it the right way or there are different techniques I could be using and I did learn from the demonstration as he took a line out in a way that I didn’t know how to do,” Ollie said. “I’d like to say skin fades are a strong area for me, but I’ve obviously learned something new off him.

“It was also inspiring to see somebody like him who has been here before and done what I’m doing now, because what’s to say I can’t do that and have my own shop. I believe the course I’m doing is a good one and would advise studying here to anybody if you want to learn barbering.

“Apprenticeship wise, I’m learning both in a shop and at College, where I’ve learned a lot about long cuts.”

Perhaps the final word should belong to skin fade model Paul, though, who was delighted with Chris’ work and could now become a regular in our students’ barber salon.

“It was exactly what I asked for and I’m happy with it,” he declared. “I have skin fades every two weeks to keep on top of it and it normally costs me quite a bit so, to get a free haircut, is always a bonus.

“I’ve used the same barber for about four years, but I signed up straight away when I saw the email asking for models. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting the students to cut my hair before, so they might see me again after this!”

Do you fancy a free haircut, like Paul?

If yes and, you’re a student or staff member, pop along to our barber’s salon on the ground floor any Monday afternoon between 1pm and 3pm where our students will be happy to oblige.