(Lewis O’Connor – Apprentice, Bright Futures Programme)
When I was informed of the opportunity I was being given to meet and present to Jennifer Cheyne, I was slightly apprehensive and was questioning how I would be able to relate to Jennifer’s experiences, compared to those in my own life. I do not have a great knowledge or understanding of what goes on in the hairdressing world, therefore I felt I may find it difficult for myself and Jennifer to build a platform and an understanding of each other.
I had a look about on the internet and did a lot of asking around about Jennifer only to find out just how successful she was and how well known Jennifer and her 7 award winning salons have become not only within Edinburgh but the UK. This, if I am being honest did not help my nervousness in anyway what so ever. I have presented before, but never to someone as successful and as well recognised and thought of as Jennifer. After digging a little deeper into my research, I found that she too has academies just like Bright Purple and I was keen to know more, to look at how they train there apprentices and how Jennifer feels about what both parties get from their time together.
I was straight away very surprised, as she explained where in Edinburgh she had spent her youth and it so happened that two of my apprentice colleagues came from the same area of Edinburgh. Jennifer then went on to explain about her performance at school, which again took me by surprise, because just like myself and fellow apprentices she too did not go on to further education in her desired working sector, instead choosing to go straight into hairdressing direct from school at the of age of 15. I can only imagine how daunting an experience it must have been for her at such a tender age. It was very inspiring to hear that an average girl from West Field Court had started off as a Saturday girl apprentice hairdresser and become such an iconic figure, in not only the hairdressing world, but the business world alike.
Jennifer spoke about going with what you feel is right and to trust your gut feeling, explaining how it has got her through many tough decisions she has made along the way and I think this is a priceless piece of advice, I will take this advice into the future decisions I will make, not only in work but in life itself.
I went with my gut instinct to grab the opportunity that Bright Purple was offering and since then I haven’t looked back. Growing as a person each day and gaining life experiences that are very hard to come by for many young people like myself. To meet someone like Jennifer Cheyne was an exceptional opportunity given to me by Bright Purple and is something I won’t ever forget. She is very inspirational and this past week I have met a number of others like Jennifer, who have given me even more belief in myself to go on and be as successful as I can be.