Abigail October has been able to look after her family during one of the leanest years in the country’ history thanks to a hairdressing course that came her way just at the right time.
Ms October is one of 22 graduates who completed the hairdressing training at the Ashley Kriel Skills Development Centre. They received their certificates in a ceremony at the Bonteheuwel high School hall on Saturday.
Ms October failed Grade 11 and refused to go back to school, but one of her teachers didn’t give up on her. When the opportunity came to apply for the level-2 course, accredited by Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), her former teacher encouraged her to apply, as the credits from the course could build up to a matric certificate.
“I signed up for the course. It was hard, because in 2019 I discovered that I was pregnant while doing the course,” Ms October said. “I wanted to give up, but I persevered. I wrote my final exams while being 42 weeks pregnant.”
She was then able to do part-time work from home. “This money helped me to travel to work and I earn an income from the salon I work at. This course has helped my family and me so much,” said Ms October, who is now the mother of 16-month-old Zion.
Rosie Calvin, Ms October’s mother, said her husband had just lost his job when her daughter started the course.
“We had no income, as my husband was the breadwinner. This course helped us so much. I am so proud of Abigail that she never gave up, even though at times it was difficult for her. She would come home exhausted from being on her feet for so long while pregnant. The course sustained our whole family, and I am so grateful for it,” Ms Calvin said.
Nicola Pather, chairwoman of the Ashley Kriel Skills Development Centre, said: “We want to create sustainable livelihoods and we are so proud of all the graduates. The young women who completed this course come from Mitchell’s Plain, Atlantis, Bonteheuwel, Delft, and Ocean View.
“On Monday June 14, we start the level-3 course and trade test. We must acknowledge the College of Cape Town, who took us by the hand and walked with us. We are particularly grateful for the assistance of Leon van Niekerk, Brenda Maasdorp, Anel Detering and Achmat Gafieldien.
“We also dedicated this graduation in memory of Melissa Louw, one of the hairdressing students who passed on in a car accident, and the late Dr Lionel Scott-Muller, who was the chief executive of the centre.”