The one thing Jackie Penev knew she wanted to do after high school was play volleyball. After graduating, she entered an education program at a local college and made the varsity team. Only a few months into the season, however, Jackie developed a severe throat infection that prevented her from playing for the rest of the year.
“Without volleyball, I realized I didn’t feel passionate about school,” she says. After some reflection, Jackie understood that her true passion was hair design. “I would always braid my teammates’ hair at tournaments,” she says, “and I loved it.”
Jackie’s parents also fully supported her entering a certified trade. In fact, it runs in the family; her father is a Red Seal-certified electrician, and her brother a Red Seal-certified pipefitter and steamfitter. “They told me it’s easier to study something when you know exactly what you’ll be doing afterward,” she says.
While researching schools, Jackie asked friends and acquaintances about hair design programs in Vancouver. They all recommended Vancouver Community College (VCC), so Jackie attended a free tour and information session at the VCC Salon & Spa. “The facility was great, the teachers were professional, and I could tell it was a place where they did things well.”
During the program, Jackie enjoyed learning in a busy salon setting and serving real clients. She also developed a special talent for the trendy bayalage hair colour technique. Only a few months after graduating, Jackie started working at Boccoli, one of her favourite high-end salons in East Vancouver. “It’s pretty much my dream job,” she says.
Looking back, Jackie remembers how things finally came to feel right. “Studying hair design at VCC was one of the most fun years of my life. It never felt like school, even the theory parts. I was passionate, I loved what I was doing every day and that made it all seem easy.”
Visit our state-of-the-art VCC Salon & Spa, meet instructors, and learn about VCC's hair design and skin and body therapy programs at an upcoming info session.