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The 19-year-old moved from the West Coast to Nelson in 2018, starting with the Certificate in Beauty Therapy (Level 4)(external link), which covers a wide range of treatments, including facials, waxing, tanning, makeup, and nails.
The one-year programme is considered the first step towards a career in the beauty therapy industry.
Students get to learn and apply their skills in NMIT’s commercial training salon, which provides them with real-world experience on-campus.
“The facilities are pretty cool,” Ella says.
“I like having all of us in one area and that we can have a different cubicle each. We're actually very lucky to have a cubicle to ourselves as some institutes don't offer that. They have, like, four people to a bed.”
After her first year, Ella decided to further her studies with the Diploma in Beauty Therapy (Level 5)(external link) to give her the best employment prospects.
“I wanted to have the Level 5 diploma qualification so I'm fully qualified as a beauty therapist,” she says.
“I've learned a lot during the diploma — more advanced massages and facials and stuff like that.”
During the diploma programme, students are required to arrange a work placement. But Ella was such a go-getter that she had already secured a job at Mabin House Body & Skin Sanctuary(external link), a boutique beauty therapy clinic in Nelson.
Tina Van't Slot, the owner said of Ella, “She’s our little star and we love the feedback our clients give us. It’s clear Ella really enjoys making people feel good about themselves and she has a bright long-term future with us.”
She’s already done a wide range of work such as makeup for fashion shows, nails for weddings and balls, and restorative treatments for rest-home residents.
Ella says the expertise and support of NMIT’s beauty therapy tutors have played a key part in her success.
“They're all very positive and encourage us to achieve highly and they all want us to pass with high marks. They’re all very highly driven to make us achieve our best.”