Hairdressing students unlock potential for more inclusive salon experiences

Two students who are Deaf are hopeful that the beauty industry could soon become more inclusive after excelling in the workplace.

Maham Butt and Nemra Idris – who attended Matthew Moss High School – both study Hair and Beauty at Hopwood Hall College and University Centre.

The course gives them the amazing opportunity to train in the contemporary Riverside Salon located at the Rochdale Campus.

In addition, learners are assisted with finding valuable work experience while completing their sought-after qualifications. 

Maham undertook this at The Retreat, while Nemra completed hers at The Bamford Hair Company.

It was an eye-opening experience for both the students and the employers – which they’ve now shared ahead of Deaf Awareness Week on Monday, May 2.

Maham, aged 21, said:

“My work placement was fantastic. I did so many different things and it was really high level. 

“I was so impressed with the experience and I think it will really help me find a job in the future.”

Nemra, aged 21, added:

“Mine was incredible. It’s been so valuable to watch and observe how hairdressers operate. 

“I really feel like a resilient attitude is something that’s really worth having in hairdressing – I never give up when I get stuck!”

The two are now more confident than ever that they’ll be able to thrive in the industry.

Maham is working towards a career as a mobile hairdresser that works with Deaf clients and Nemra is following a similar route but with an emphasis on online hair tutorials. 

The talented duo also believes that they are great evidence that Deaf and hearing impaired people can enjoy mainstream beauty settings – starting with a trip to the Riverside Salon.

Nemra said:

“We’d really welcome Deaf people at the Riverside Salon. I’d understand them very easily and I’d have that different relationship with them. 

“I could ensure that the communication was a really easy flowing situation and there’d be no need to write anything down.”

Maham added:

“It’s so important to be inclusive. I’d be able to say ‘hi, welcome!’ and find out what the customers wanted. 

“It would be much easier for the Deaf client, which is key because it’s so important that they get treatments in hairdressing and beauty.”

This message is something that’s echoed by Emma Russo, owner of The Retreat. 

She was so impressed with how Maham took to her work placement and believes other salons should follow suit.

Emma said:

“Maham’s work experience really broadened my perspective and made me feel confident that we can work with different people of different abilities.”

“She was so hardworking and her deafness wasn’t a barrier whatsoever. People like Maham add so much value to the industry.”

Maham and Nemra were both assigned Communication Support Workers when they enrolled at Hopwood Hall.

It’s one of the many methods used to ensure that students have the same opportunities when working towards their goals.

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO of Hopwood Hall College and University Centre, said:

“I’m delighted to hear that Maham and Nemra found so much success during their work experience. 

“We always encourage our students to reach for the stars and it’s clear that this is just what they’re doing!”


Middleton Campus
Rochdale Road, Middleton
Manchester, M24 6XH
0161 643 7560
Rochdale Campus
St. Mary’s Gate
Rochdale, OL12 6RY
01706 345 346