Fife College staff have proved they are leaders in the field of sustainability after being awarded a highly commended award at the prestigious Green Gown Awards held in Bristol recently.
Christina Laing, Head of Department for Hair, Beauty, Sport and Fitness attended the awards with Fiona Craig, Curriculum Manager, and both were delighted to pick up a Highly Commended for the ‘Best Newcomer’ category on behalf of the College for its Green Vented Salon, situated at the College’s Halbeath Campus in Dunfermline.
Fife College opened its doors to the Green Salon, the nation’s very first vented ‘green’ salon, in November 2014. The salon offers a new and innovative approach to hairdressing, using all things ‘eco’ to ensure students and clients benefit from a unique learning and customer experience which is environmental, health conscious and sector leading in the profession.
From the minute you step in the door you know you are in a salon with a difference. High-tech local extraction vents (LEVs) hover above cutting and colouring stations to remove traces of unwanted chemicals and cleanse the air, while forest scenes adorn the walls. Incorporating ideas such as these into Hairdressing practice begins with training and so to complement the new facilities sustainability has been included in to all the course programmes.
Christina, who has been the driving force behind the project said:
“We are thrilled to be awarded Highly Commended for our Green Salon. Attending the awards was a great experience and it was fantastic to see the amazing range of work being carried out by Colleges and Universities throughout the UK and abroad.
“Our salon has just celebrated its first anniversary and its fantastic that our ideas are now a reality and our students are benefitting from being trained in an innovative salon and learning about alternative hair products and techniques.
“The Green Gown Awards are highly sought after awards within the education and sustainability industries and we are delighted that as a team we have been able to accomplish this, not just for the College but also for the benefit of the hair industry whom we work closely with to help nourish innovation and in turn benefit our students and customers.”
New York based Brian Grieve, ex Fife College student and former Kirkcaldy salon owner, dropped in on the students and staff to congratulate them on their award win and to celebrate the first anniversary of the salon. Brian has had links with the College for many years and has kept in touch with the Hairdressing staff throughout his career, visiting the College to do guest appearances and seminars.
All of Fife College’s training salons are inspired by former students who have gone on to make an impact in the industry – this is reviewed on a regular basis and Brian was delighted to hear during his visit that the green salon has been inspired by him for this year and his name and story placed beside the entrance.
Brian, originally from Dunfermline, spent many years travelling back and forward to America to do hair shows and master classes (110 times) working for leading brands including Wella, Clairol Professional and Matrix. He decided to settle in New York in 2008 to work on the education and training side of the industry which is enabling him to give something back to a sector which he says has given him a huge amount.
Said Brian: “I was delighted and very proud to hear that Fife College had picked up this great award which is testament to the hard work, creativity and innovation of the team. It is fantastic to see that the College is so committed to sustainability and to improving the skills and knowledge of tomorrow’s stylists and salon owners. What’s happening here at Fife College is sector leading and I look forward to linking up with the College in the near future to share ideas and best practice with our students across the pond.”
This year’s Green Gown Awards saw over 320 sustainability leaders join in the celebration of awarding sustainability excellence within tertiary education announcing 16 Winners and 22 Highly Commended and a further three further International Winners.
Organised and delivered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), Chief Executive Iain Patton describes the importance of the Green Gown Awards, “Every year the Green Gown Awards rewrite what business as usual looks like for UK universities and colleges. Sustainability makes business sense and this year’s inspiring initiatives prove that sustainability benefits staff, students, the wider community and of course the bottom line. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists for their hard work. It was wonderful to celebrate their successes in Bristol.”