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South & City College collaborate with the Commonwealth Games
(Pictured left to right: Antoinette Ellis (Beauty Therapy Lecturer), Liz Love (Senior hair stylist) Sukaina Walji (Head of Beauty Therapy and Travel & Tourism), Sheri Cadwallader (Senior Catering technician) and Jess Lee (Beauty Therapist) in the commonwealth games salon

It has been an extremely busy summer so far for the Hair, Barbering and Beauty department at South and City College. They had the honour of being a service provider for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

At South and City College, the staff pride themselves on being well-educated in hair of all textures, from type 1 to type 4. African hair care training began at the Handsworth campus, and since then, they have won lifetime achievement awards and received recognition within the community. The barbering staff are barbers by trade and possess a vast amount of knowledge and experience within the industry. 

Both staff and students from Hair, Barbering and Beauty were there to support the wellbeing of the athletes by helping them look and feel beautiful whilst competing, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The beauty department provided the full package for athletes, from painting flags on faces to makeup and nail art, whilst the hairdressing departments offered a variety of hairstyles, from box braids to shaving patterns. 

This was an exciting experience as they had the opportunity to network and connect with a variety of people from all walks of life. Mark Williams, barbering lecturer at South and City College, reflected on his experience, saying:

‘’My most memorable moment was speaking to one of the managers of the Jamaica team. He was so happy and impressed with the service that he returned the following day and bought me a Jamaica jersey. I was able to celebrate the fact that culturally, I am Jamaican and Bajan, and I got to meet some of the guys from the countries I am from.’’

Rachel Reiss, Hairdressing lecturer at South and City College, said:

‘’Leaving the athletes village after the opening ceremony and receiving a standing ovation as we walked to the station was an amazing moment for me.’’

One of the highlights for the hairdressing department was doing Emily Campbell’s hair. She is a significant figure as the flag bearer for England and an advocate for women in sport, no matter their shape or size. 

With the help of silver medallist Mozambique boxer Rady Gramane, Joy McFarlane, one of South and City College’s type 4 hair specialists, braided Canadian boxer and gold medallist Tammara Thibault’s hair for the closing ceremony. A memorable moment for Joy. 

Not only were South and City College staff and students there to provide their services, but they were also a support network for athletes. Sadat, a barbering student, explains: 

‘’I had a client and as soon as I seen him, I knew he had the passion, the confidence, and the talent. I told him I see that you’re confident, and trust me, you are going to make it to the final and you will win a gold medal, and he came through. He did it and he won it.’’ 

This was a great experience for students who were hired as employees and were treated as colleagues rather than students. Terri-Ann, a Level 3 barbering student, said:

‘’I have no words to express how grateful I am for this opportunity. It has been one of the best experiences and I will remember it forever and will most definitely miss everyone. I have had the time of my life and it has boosted my confidence so much.’’

The athletes also expressed their appreciation for the South and City College team, reflected in their visitor book, where athletes left such amazing and beautiful comments. 

Tej, from Mauritius, said ‘’Mark did an excellent job on my hair. It never looked so good before. He’s such a kind, gentle person. If I ever have the occasion, I’ll come again for Mark.’’ 

Sulu, a New Zealand athlete, says ‘’Thank you for your beautiful skills, conversation and making my day.’’

Gloria Wong from Malaysia said ‘’Thank you very much for the manicure service. Thank you for all the wonderful and friendly people around here.’’ 

South and City College is extremely proud of the Hair, Barbering and Beauty staff and students for working tirelessly to help support the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and building great rapport and relationships with athletes. They represented the college so well and successfully collaborated as a team as part of this rewarding experience.

The Hair, Barbering and Beauty department would also like to thank iSalon Software for providing the booking system and making the appointment process run smoothly, Arrow hair and beauty for providing the equipment and Morphe cosmetics for supplying the makeup products used on athletes. 

This could not have been achieved without Sukaina Walji, Head of Beauty Therapy, as she helped to organise and make this all happen.  

Sukaina says ‘’I can’t put in to words how proud I am to be able to lead such a talented team. We’ve gained so much as a team and as a college. It was a humbling experience meeting people from all over the world and them feeling so appreciative when leaving the salon. The confidence we saw growing from the students who came was extremely rewarding.’’

The college offers a range of hair and beauty services in the on-site salons based at the Longbridge, Digbeth and Hall Green campuses. For more information on treatments and prices, follow the link The Salons ( or to sign up for a course visit