Linah Nkosi, the head of Linzo’s Hair Academy in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg, is a strong believer in learning and development. In 2014 she got an accreditation from Services SETA as a training provider and has never looked back. Indeed, her institution is renowned for the valuable knowledge it drills into aspirant hairdressers about the art of handling hair. The training skills graduates to survive in a competitive industry.
Nkosi works with a dedicated staff of 15 and the learning programmelearning programme takes up to three years to complete. Each level of the learning programme is made up of 21 modules, at the end of which learners graduate but after taking a trade test and underdoing assessment.
More importantly, the academy also teaches learners other crucial business skills – financial management, bookkeeping, client service – for when they run their own hair and beauty salons someday. All in all, Nkosi is all about injecting professionalism into the industry that so often is regarded as informal.
Nkosi opened her academy after the feeling the painful jolt of her mother’s passing in 2002. To make ends meet, she started a hair salon in her community. When business boomed, she moved on to establish her academy by acquiring accreditation with the Service SETA in order to ensure quality of the programmes the academy will offer. The Services SETA views accreditation as a crucial element to the quality provisioning of education and training, particularly within an industry such as hairdressing where hazardous chemicals are being used and safety of both clients and the hairdressers is of importance.
In addition to getting Services SETA by her side, right from the start Nkosi wanted to draw into the industry those who were marginalised in society. She took a bold move of introducing her hair learning programme to inmates in Johannesburg and Mogale City correctional facilities. Through her learning programme, many ex-offenders have since won parole on the strength of having gained a skill they could reply on once released.
Of the 395 students enrolled at the academy, 70 are in correctional facilities (Johannesburg and Mogale City). The Services SETA also supports some of the regular students with helps stipends so they could attend the learning programme “The Services SETA has changed my life and the lives of my students in a very substantial way. I’m truly grateful for the support from the Services SETA.”
Siphiwe Ngwenya is a former prisoner who’s doing his last year of the three-year learning programme at the academy. In December 2018, he opened his own business in Katlehong called Bhekizeen Beauty and Hair Salon, and he employs four staff. “I rent a shop in my area. I want to show my community that I’m rehabilitated,” Ngwenya says.
Meisie Sekere, owner or Naledi Hair Salon in Bophelong, just outside Vanderbilpark, graduated five years ago from Linzo’s Hair Academy and is grateful for the knowledge acquired in the learning programme that has enabled her to run a successful hair salon business. Sekere wishes to also start her very own hair academy. “I’d like to do to others what Linah did for me. I’d like to pass on the baton. I’ve already started with the process of getting accreditation. Lina is helping me with that processs,” she says.