A career as a hairdresser beckons for a Fijian winner of a competition called The Cutting-Edge Project by Outrigger Fiji and Empow HAIR. Australian hairstylist Dani Haddad, founder of not-for-profit fundraising organization EmpowHAIRand a frequent visitor to Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, said her aim was to teach underprivileged, young Fijians and assist them in finding rewarding, long-term employment.

“A hairdressing course in Fiji costs over $14,000 which is beyond the realms of affordability for many young adults in the villages so we are planning a competition which will allow the winner to undertake a training course to become a qualified hairdresser at Fiji National University,” Ms. Haddad said. The Cutting-Edge Project will involve two key Outrigger Managers, selecting 10 young adults from three villages located on the coast near the resort. The selection criteria will include fluency in English, presentation, hygiene and the ability to demonstrate an ambition to become a hairdresser.

In January, Ms. Haddad will re-visit Fiji to test the skills of all 30 participants and choose 12 finalists. This test will include scissor manipulation, sectioning techniques, brush and blow dryer co-ordination and basic cut structure. The 12 finalists comprising four from each village will receive hair cutting kits and be trained by Ms. Haddad to enable them to undertake basic hair cutting in their villages and earn a living. Six months later, Ms. Haddad will return to Fiji and hold a Master Hair Cutting Competition with the winner of the competition to receive a scholarship paid by funds raised through EmpowHAIR to undertake a training course to become a qualified hairdresser at Fiji National University.

Once the winner has graduated, they will be given work experience at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort. Resort General Manager, Peter Hopgood said that this was a wonderful opportunity for young people in the provinces of Nadroga andNavosa. “This is what my team at Outrigger are all about. We look for opportunities to support the people in our province,” he said. “We thank Dani for providing her time and expertise to support this project. This will be life-changing for these young people,” said Mr. Hopgood.