Situated 20 miles South of Kilmarnock, The Spa at Lochside offers a perfect blend of tranquillity and luxury set in acres of beautiful countryside. Opening only 5 years ago it has experienced continued success and the team at Lochside pride themselves on delivering excellent customer service to each and every one of their clients.
The 31st October – 4th November 2016 marked National Spa Week and in order to gain a first-hand insight into the Spa and Beauty industry we caught up with Spa Manager Heather White and Treatments Manager Jennifer McPherson to hear all about the Spa at Lochside.
During the interview Heather and Jen informed us that both their routes into the Spa and Beauty industry were reasonably similar.
After leaving school Heather worked in retail before realising it was not the right career choice for her. She then moved on to studying beauty at college and after 4 years achieved a number of qualifications including her HND in Beauty Therapy. Working in a spa during her time at college allowed Heather to gain essential first-hand experience however, once her studies came to an end she decided to try something different. Heather went on to working in a salon carrying out treatments such as nails and make-up before moving on further to gain experience in the electrical side of the industry focussing on inch loss and laser hair removal. A year on she noticed that Lochside were opening up their brand new spa and was delighted to be recruited as Senior Therapist. Over the years Heather has moved up the ladder and is now proud to be the Spa Manager at Lochside.
Jen’s journey is very similar to that of Heather’s. After leaving school she went down the childcare route before realising this was not the right career choice for her. Jen then went on to study beauty at college for 2 years where she studied extremely hard and took on additional night classes to achieve her HND in Beauty Therapy. During her time at college Jen never anticipated she would want to work in a spa as she felt a salon environment would be more suited to her. However after hearing Lochside were looking for a team of staff to run their brand new luxurious spa Jen was ready for a fresh experience and was sure this was the right choice for her. Starting off as Therapist, she quickly moved on to Senior Therapist and is now in her current role as Treatment’s Manager at the Spa at Lochside.
5 years on and both Heather and Jen are still thoroughly enjoying their roles within the spa and are proud to have moved up the ladder into management positions. Running a team of 14 staff members, 6 of which are classed as young people aged between 16 and 24, Heather and Jen state this close knit team is what makes the spa such an enjoyable place to work. So what do they feel young people bring to the company?
“They are very eager and willing to learn and they pick up things really quickly. They bring fresh ideas and keep the older ones young which is nice! They are also willing to take on responsibility so I would definitely recommend for other employers to recruit young people.”
Heather White, Spa Manager
The Spa at Lochside are also committed to offering work experience placements to local young people. Heather informed us that they enjoy taking on pupils for work experience as on occasion those pupils who have carried out a placement have ended up with part time or casual jobs within the spa before moving on to be hired full time by the company.
These success stories show that a work experience placement can open many doors for young people and even guide them into the ideal career path.
When looking to take on an employee within the spa Heather and Jen stated some of the skills and qualities that they look for.
“The main thing we look for is the individual has to be HND qualified or be working towards their HND. The reason being so is that the ESPA products that we use will not allow us to put the employee through ESPA training unless they are HND qualified. We also look for hardworking, motivated individuals and people with great communication skills. We have to have people who are very confident as well because they are doing something quite physical and therefore need to be sure of themselves.”
Heather White, Spa Manager
Due to the long shifts and physically demanding work we wanted to find out what they enjoyed most about working in the spa.
“I really enjoy working for the company. You get a lot of good staff benefits, they look after you and they put you through a lot of training so there is loads of good things about working here.”
“Another thing I would say that I enjoy most about my job working in the spa would be the exceptional experience we give to each and every client. There’s no place like it. We have our guests returning time and time again for the customer service that they recieve and to know you have made a difference in somebody’s day makes the team feel better.“
Heather & Jennifer, The Spa at Lochside
So what advice would Heather and Jen give to young people who may be considering a career in the spa or beauty industry?
“I would advise you to go to college first and get as much out of college as you can. While you’re studying you can also look for a job because I felt that really helped myself. It’s not until you go out into the industry that you see how it really works but college is where you will learn what you need to know. It is hard work! It is probably one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had to do. It is very demanding and very physical however it is the most rewarding job I have ever done. If it is something you are interested in stick in and do it and it will be totally worth it.”
Heather White, Spa Manager
“I think as well when you are at college go out and experience the industry. There are so many different routes you can take when you are doing this job. For example there is salon, spa and loads more. We have had a few girls who have left the spa to go and try something else but have ended up coming back.”
Jennifer McPherson, Treatments Manager
To watch our full interview with Heather and Jen click here or play the video below:
We would like to thank Heather, Jen and the whole team at The Spa at Lochside for giving us a clear insight into careers in this industry and for showing us around their luxurious facilities within The Spa at Lochside.
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