At the washbasin of the first ever hair salon to open in the remote Aboriginal community of Santa Teresa in Central Australia, owner and hairdresser Kim Marshall is showing her newest student the proper technique to blow-dry hair.
“So far I’ve learnt how to colour, a little bit of mixing, and I would like to learn more about cutting as well,” trainee Leocardia Young said.
In a place where unemployment is high, and skills training can be scarce, the new salon, which is to open on Monday, could be a game changer for the outback town.
“I will be teaching people industry standards, cutting, colouring and customer service,” Ms Marshall said.
Ms Marshall has been working as a hairdresser for 30 years, but says she was ready to swap concrete for the desert to help Indigenous people pick up the scissors and comb.
“I’m hoping to deliver on their goals and aspirations, and to help them to achieve their dreams,” Ms Marshall said.
For 34-year-old Ms Young, has deeply personal reasons for wanting to one day open her own salon.
“I want to start a business in Santa Teresa so the younger generation can learn how to be a hairdresser,” Ms Young said.
“I want them to have skills and feel proud, and proud of their appearance.”
Ms Young is the first person in her community to enrol in a hairdressing apprenticeship and hopes it will change her life.
“I want to get work, not just for the ‘work for the dole’ or CDP, I want to get proper employment,” Ms Young said.
If early indications are anything to go by, the community’s only salon is likely to be busy when it opens.
In a quick show of hands, all eight of the teenage girls at the salon want to have their hair straightened, and they all want colour.
“I’m looking forward to getting my hair coloured, and learning how to colour,” teenager Danika Flowers said.
But it’s not just the girls who are interested, the young men in Santa Theresa are also keen to get their locks shaped.
“The boys just keep asking me ‘when is the salon opening?’ And they want to come every day,” Ms Young said.
Originally Published by ABC News, continue reading here.