BEAUTY SCHOOL KNOCKOUT

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ANDREA DONOGHUE is a therapist in Clayton Whites Hotel in Wexford at the Tranquility Spa & Wellness Centre. She explains why she loves working in beauty. 

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Fact File

Name: Andrea Donoghue 

Job: Therapist 

Works: Clayton Whites Hotel in the Tranquility Spa & Wellness Centre 

Courses: Beauty Therapy and Complementary Therapy at Waterford College of Further Education 

It’s very rewarding when someone stands up after a treatment and tells you that they feel amazing.

How did you get started in spas? 

This was something that I always wanted to doso after school I went to Waterford College ofFurther Education to study Beauty Therapy and Complementary Therapy. The Beauty Therapy course is two years, you learn all about beauty treatments in year one and then in your second year you do massage. After the course I went on to study part-time for another year and did the first year of the Holistic Therapy course where I learned about reflexology, Indian head massage and other alternative therapies. 

Would you recommend the course? 

Definitely. A lot of the time in school kids are only shown the CAO option but there are so many other learning opportunities available. The CAO is not always the best way to go, and I would definitely recommend the colleges of Further Education. 

Beauty Therapy is sometimes underestimated. But there is so much to learn and there’s a lot of anatomy and physiology. You definitely have to put in the hard work – I never missed a day. The tutors and staff were so encouraging and supportive. 

Did you find it easy to get work after college? 

As part of your course you have to complete 600 hours of work placement in the industry and I completed this placement in the spa in Clayton Whites Hotel during college. I was so lucky that they offered me a job after my placement. I am delighted to work with a great team in the newly rebranded Clayton Whites Hotel where I learn from my colleagues. The brilliant thing about this industry is that there is good demand for beauty therapists. 

What do you do each day? 

We come in 30 minutes before our first treatment is scheduled in order to set up and prep for the day, then we have four hours of treatments with clients. This could be anything from a massage or facial to a special spa package where you would provide a number of different treatments. We get an hour break for lunch then repeat the schedule in the afternoon. 

It’s a physical job, is it tiring? 

You definitely have to be fit and although we’re working in a relaxed and tranquil environment you would be surprised at how exhausted you are at the end of the day. As a team we are very good at balancing things here though so you won’t spend all day doing deep tissue massages, you’ll alternate with other treatments. 

What’s your favourite part of the job? 

I love doing massages. It’s very rewarding when someone stands up after a treatment and tells you that they feel amazing. In school I was big into biology and was very interested in science andhow the body works. I love helping people and making them feel good. It really suits me. I recently represented Ireland in the World Skills championship in Brazil, which was so exciting. 

What kind of person suits your role? 

You have to be hard working, you have to have a passion for what you do. You need to be attentive and compassionate and you must have the ability to ensure a client relaxes. 

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CAREER PATH: SPA & WELLNESS

Wellness is one of the biggest growth areas in tourism in Ireland and around the world, providing amazing opportunities for you if you pursue a career as a therapist. 

Job: Spa Manager

Estimated salary: from €35,000

Job: Spa Supervisor

Estimated salary: from €25,000

Job: Senior Therapist

Estimated salary: from €22,000

Job: Therapist

Estimated salary: from €20,000

Qualifications are essential if you wish to work as a therapist in the spa sector. Visit the The Next Level section to see a list of Higher Education and Further Education providers offering tourism and hospitality programmes. 

This article first appeared in the 2015 issue of Get a Life in Tourism.

career optionsRachel Delap