Leigh first came to RRI on work experience back in 1996, and quickly found herself hooked. She qualified in 1998, spent five years perfecting her craft and training as a teacher in our Buchanan Street salon, then opened the Academy in 2003. Now an influential figure in the UK hair industry, this year Leigh helped to develop the new SVQ Hairdressing qualifications for the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority. As a hairdresser, Leigh is exceptional at colouring hair and tackling complex, creative cuts. It’s her belief that changing the colour or style of a person’s hair can genuinely bring out a different side of their personality.
Combining her two roles, Leigh says, gives her best of both worlds: training the next generation of top stylists, while still being able to work directly with clients. She loves seeing students graduate to ‘finishing school’, and watching everything she’s taught them click into place. She calls those the ‘lightbulb moments’. Her philosophy for success is clear: strive for perfection, don’t make excuses, know your strengths (and weaknesses), accept criticism, have confidence and – most of all – be creative.
Nikki joined RRI in 1998, at the tender age of 15. From that role as Saturday girl in the Royal Exchange Square salon, she went on to qualify as a stylist, do our teacher training programme (while still working with clients) and achieve her NVQ Level 3. Nikki taught her first course at the Academy in 2003. Since then, she has achieved her Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree and Academy Assessor qualification, and now teaches full-time at the Academy. Nikki knows first-hand that hairdressing can offer a really diverse and fast-paced career, and tries to instill that in her students, who she loves to see progressing week-on-week. Although she’ll always be extremely passionate about training, Nikki still gets a real buzz from working hands-on, colouring, cutting and styling her clients’ hair (she especially likes doing hair-ups for special occasions).
Helen first came to RRI as an Assistant Stylist in 2004 through to qualifying in 2007 as a Stylist in the Buchanan Street salon, and also proved her skills by earning a Schwarzkopf Master Colour degree. Helen spent three years climbing the ladder to became a SVQ Assessor in 2010 and became one of the Academy's most popular training assessors, passing on her skills to the next generation of stylists.
Helen won the award for 'Trainer of the Year' over 3 consequtive years; 2011, 2012, 2013. Upon her passion being quickly recognised, Helen was presented the opportunity to join the Academy in 2017 as a Training Manager - to help and train not only students, but also the Assessors.
Subsequent to achieving her Internal Quality Assurance Training SVQ level 8 qualification, she is an active IQA within the Academy. In the future, Helen endeavors to learn all aspects of managing a salon.
Caitlin joined RRI in 2008, and has been a qualified member of the Academy team since 2010. She qualified as an assessor in 2014 and is delighted to be one of the team developing RRI’s future stylists. In her own words, she loves teaching because 'I can help the students but develop myself too, as it keeps my own knowledge fresh'. She loves to see the students graduate and showcase their skills at seminars.
Caitlin has also achieved a Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree, giving her an advanced understanding of the science behind colouring (one of her favourite aspects of hairdressing). She can turn her hand to any hair type, but is a big fan of creating short, funky haircuts and putting hair up for nights out,and weddings and creating clean cut barbering. Her favourite is creative colour work and colour correction.. Whether she’s teaching or working directly with clients, her mantra is the same: be persistent, be patient, and be dedicated.
Like Training Director Leigh, Jamie first came to RRI on a week’s work experience. After just a few days, Jamie had fallen in love with the industry and decided to train. After qualifying, she worked as a stylist for two years before taking maternity leave when her son was born. When she came back (and we’re glad she did), Jamie opted for a role as a receptionist and has never looked back. Now she heads up the entire reception team here at the Academy, and has progressed to being involved with back office projects. Even after 19 years in the company she still loves seeing students blossom into fully-fledged stylists.
Samantha joined our Academy team in 2017 after being one of our loyal clients for years.
She quickly became an important pillar of the team, by making everyday special with her charisma and passion for customer service!
Isla & Robbie joined the Rainbow Room team in March 2017 as Digital Marketing Modern Apprentices; after completing their apprenticeship in December 2017, they have taken on important roles within the running of all things social media!
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