City College Norwich’s hairdressing course leader, Steve Bacon, has worked at City College Norwich for 29 years. He even studied hairdressing at the college in 1977! Steve tells us his story about his hairdressing and education career and how the college has impacted his life.
Steve Bacon writes:
In 1977, I attended City College Norwich as a day release student whist I completed my hairdressing apprenticeship in a local salon; I later returned into complete my Advanced Hairdressing qualification too.
Steve (wearing the orange shirt) in 1982
I worked in the industry for a number of years in Norwich and the South West to gain experience, before I approached my tutor; Cyril Baker, Head of the Department; who later became a great friend and influence. From there I became a part time hairdressing lecturer – in those days we taught wig making too; I never did make one for myself!
In 1987 I became a full time lecturer joining a small team of Cyril, Tony Crossley & Barbara Mair. In those days we had a large apprenticeship programme and worked with dozens of local employers. I also worked on the pilot YTS programme. Our full time courses were established in hairdressing and beauty therapy followed shortly after and quickly grew in popularity under the leadership of my dear friend Jill Hadaway.
I became the Course Leader for the Apprenticeship programme and worked closely with many employers as I visited their salons. We quickly outgrew our accommodation on B floor in the main Norwich Building and moved into the main area within the Hotel School, which remains our home today.
Some years later I gained a promotion as a Senior Lecturer and joined Community Education where I worked for ten years. I managed the Connexions programme; before designing and writing the Directions, which featured more than 25 short courses for adult returners. I was also responsible for the CACDP Deaf Awareness courses including British Sign Language. After that I gained a further promotion and became the Programme Manager for the area managing Learn Direct and basic skills in the work place as ‘Skills for Life’ brought Literacy & Numeracy into the college. I delivered courses for Tesco, Eastern Counties Buses, and Royal Mail in their workplaces and numerous others. I also established the Prince’s Trust Team Programme which ran successfully for several years after.
Ten years ago I ‘returned to my roots’- in hairdressing. Arguably; some might say, I never really left? I was pleased to return to my original vocation and re-establish myself, with some dear colleagues including my great friend Lorna Gibbs, who is also an ex-student of mine, and a much larger Hair & Beauty team. NVQ’s were now well established and VRQ’s became equally prominent. I became the Course Leader for Level 1, 2 and later Level 3. I taught Key Skills & Functional Skills to several groups of full time students and apprentices. We are now establishing and developing exciting new Level 4 awards too. In recent years we have introduced the use of photography to evidence student achievement which has allowed me to utilise my other long term passion.
Examples of Steve’s photography work
Although the college and its buildings have changed significantly over the years , one constant is my love of supporting and helping my students gain the knowledge and skills required to work in my industry. They often say …‘you taught my mum too’; I have yet to be told you taught my gran as well!
Whilst working at City College Norwich I have been so fortunate to work with some fabulous teams of staff who have become dearest friends and most valued colleagues. (There are far too many to list).
I continue to be very proud to work for City College Norwich and as we approach the latter stages of this special year I wish every success and happiness to my departing students.
Steve at City College Norwich in 2016