Wanting and delivering the best is what motivates Mel Lange, as both Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer Hairdressing “Delivering excellent programmes with exceptional graduate outcomes is where my focus is”.
Before taking on the Programme leader responsibilities of the hairdressing programmes across UCOL's campuses Mel had come up through the ranks like all other hairdressers. She completed her apprenticeship in Masterton at a busy hairdressing salon, where she became the manageress at 20 years of age.
Following some time in Australia she returned to the Wairarapa where she opened up a hair salon in Martinborough. At the back of her mind, she always knew teaching was something she wanted to do and started working part-time in at a polytechnic in Wellington, before coming to UCOL.
“There is something special about being in the classroom, we all learn to work together. Learning at UCOL is quite different to training apprentices. We have students for 1-2 years and the learning is focused purely on them and developing skills and artistic talent. We produce industry-ready graduates.”
“Every cohort of students is different and during the year you can see a sense of community grow as the students bond, bringing their own individuality and develop skills helping learn off each other.”
“The hairdressing team at UCOL are all HITO
assessors. This means that they are HITO approved and hold a current assessor number. The team still work in industry, to keep up their skills, techniques and knowledge – it’s a real benefit to the students.”
“Our hours in industry, as well as strong relationships across the board, means that when students are going out on industry placement we match them to a salon that will be the best fit for them – this can be so successful. Students often gain apprenticeships.”
“The way we deliver of our programmes means that no matter which campus students are on, they will get the same high standard UCOL experience, our lecturers also get around other campuses meaning each year the team get to meet most of the students studying across the other campuses.”
“The other part of the student experience is that we operate the training salons like real businesses, so as well as the skills and techniques students learn, they also grow and develop fantastic communication skills and learn how to make appointments, cash up and be aware of health and safety.”
Having a dual role and being across multiple sites keeps Mel busy, when asked how she stays so positive and energetic “It’s easy I always wanted to teach, to enhance my teaching skills I have completed a Diploma of Adult Education and throughout any year there are workshops and industry visits – also no two students or classes are ever the same – so things are always changing and moving forward which I love.”