Girls often miss out on formal education most likely due to a lack of school fees and if they’re lucky enrol on a vocational course. However, on completion of a course in hairdressing they still struggle to find paid work. Most employers require at least one year’s experience within a salon but this work experience usually comes at a cost as salons charge the girls a fee for ‘on-the-job training. Unable to pay to this fee, alongside their rent and all their other basic needs, most see their only option is to return to their rural villages to help with the farming or to get married, never utilising their new skills and so the cycle of poverty continues.

This intiative offers a one-year paid work experience placement for young women who have completed a vocational course in hairdressing and are looking for employment. The women, girls or even boys are carefully selected based on their interest and their background.

During the year, they are offered a safe place to live where all their basic needs are covered while they are taught technical skills, working with both Caucasian and Afro hair, as well as nail care. The ability to work with all kinds of hair sets them aside from the usual labour pool and increases their chances of getting employed in the future. Beyond the technical training they have lessons in how to deliver exceptional customer care as well as learning about the impact our service has on people’s health and the environment.

At the end of the year with Shine With Skills, they are awarded a certificate and given recommendations based on the way they have participated in the programme and the salon will try where possible to help them in their hunt for long term employment, highlighting opportunities and helping with their applications.

The salon aims to provide as many jobs to local Ugandans as possible, beyond the girls on the programme it is employing a guard and a cleaner. For unskilled workers in Uganda, getting long-term paid employment where a salary is certain is rare and therefore Shine With Skills hopes to employ as many people as possible as the business expands.

The long term vision for the salon is for it to be self sustaining, whereby the business will support the project and managed by one of the original girls who are permanent staff.