A school may not be the first place you think of when you want to get a shave or a haircut, but members of the Richland One community can get one at Heyward Career and Technology Center while also allowing students in the barber/ master hair care program to practice the skills they’ve been learning in the classroom.
With instructor supervision, students are able to provide their services to Richland One students, staff, and community members every Tuesday through Saturday. Services include shaves, haircuts, and chemical services, like hair coloring and lightening.
This school year marks the first time barber/master hair care instructor Arthur Stevens is allowing students to run the barber shop at Heyward since he took the position two years ago.
“I really want to make this effective for the students and the public. The students are really excited about this. I would have gone to a program like this when I was a kid and learned what I needed to learn,” he said.
Stevens taught himself how to cut hair and shave, starting when he was 14 years old. He worked in seven barber shops around Columbia during his more than 30 years in the profession, but Stevens never pictured himself teaching students his profession. In fact, when he started at Heyward in 2017, Stevens was a welding teacher. When the barber/ master hair care instructor position opened up, Stevens jumped at the chance to teach it.
“I already knew what the students had to learn. I already had an advantage when the position opened up. I wanted to share what I learned with students. I even retired from barbering just to teach this 100 percent,” he said.
Thirty-one students are in the barber/master hair care program this school year. Eighty percent of those students are currently cutting hair.
There are four levels in the barber/master hair care program. Students in the levels I and II classes learn about the history of barbering and the tools they’ll be working with. When they reach levels III and IV, they prepare for the exam that will allow them to become licensed barbers by the South Carolina Board of Barbers. Students who take the classes can get their certification after 1,500 hours of theory and practicum work.
Dreher High School senior Jayden Hollins is in the level III class. He got into doing his own hair when he got dreadlocks. Jayden became interested in the barber/master hair care program because of the opportunity to graduate with his barber license.
“The barber/master hair care program presented itself to me. I took the opportunity and thought this was something I could see myself being good at,” Jayden said.
Since joining the program last year, Jayden says a lot of opportunities opened up to him, including being an ambassador for incoming freshmen who want to come to Heyward.
“When I came to Dreher last year, I was very introverted. A year ago, doing something like this would be really out of my comfort zone. The barber/ master hair care program has helped me open up. I’m nothing but grateful for that,” he said.
Thanks to the program, Jayden is determined to one day open his own salon suite.
“I want to have a place that’s my space and I don’t have to worry about any outside factors. It’ll be my space and I can do what I want,” he said.
Since he became the barber/master hair care instructor, Stevens has opened up more opportunities for students to go out into the community. He takes them on field trips to barber shops and is even allowing them to cut hair for the homeless.
“All these things I’m adding to the program will really elevate the students’ mindset. The one thing I’m really trying to emphasize is their mindset and putting them in a direction where they can run their own business and create a relationship with their clients,” he said.
Stevens hopes to add an apprenticeship barber shop to the program in the future, allowing students to work with a professional without having to leave Heyward.
“With this apprenticeship, the students will learn how to be an entrepreneur, working with personal finances and creating their own business,” he said.
The barber shop at Heyward Career and Technology Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 12:45–4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
For more information, contact Stevens at arthur. email@example.com.