As she approaches her third year in the beauty industry, Ultimate Care's Emma Kurtz has been awarded with the TAFE NSW Excellence Award in Tourism and Experiences Student of the Year.
Emma, who has a Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy, has always been drawn to the field and continues to develop a passion for her job each day.
"I have always had an interest in the beauty industry. When I was a teenager I used to really like makeup and I would find an interest in sitting on Pinterest looking at brows and things, so when Marg and I met for a coffee and she offered me a position, I was thrilled," Emma said.
"That to me felt like my path, I was really drawn to it and felt like being able to help people feel beautiful was something I would be really passionate about."
Admittedly, Emma was rather 'shocked' to discover her TAFE teachers had nominated her for the excellence award, and added that she was "very humbled" to be announced the winner.
"I felt very lucky that I was able to be in a position that encouraged my teachers to nominate me. I have been really nurtured in the saloon too, I'm very lucky to be surrounded by a really nice group of ladies that have all taught me their different love and passion for the industry which has helped me adapt to make mine bigger," she said.
"I was very shocked by it all. I did the nomination about 12 months ago but we didn't really hear much until February when they put out a date for the gala event. That got postponed because of COVID-19 and I was bummed because I really wanted to go and know who won.
"Then when we got the call to go to Dubbo I kind of have an inkling being that it was a smaller gathering that they potentially were only going to be inviting winners, I still wasn't getting my hopes up but it was very lovely to have my plaque and trophy waiting for me, it was a very nice surprise."
Ultimate Care owner Marg Ottley considers Emma to be a "little superstar" and said her success is a very positive reflection of the support network the salon offers.
"It shows the level of commitment she's had to her course and also the level of support that she's had from myself and the team here helping her get to where she is," Marg said.
She brings a passion for learning and the industry, she likes a challenge so if I throw something at her, she's there to catch the ball and go with it.Ultimate Care owner, Marg Ottley
"I always look for people that have the same passion I do in beauty and I've definitely found it with Emma. I had my eye on her ever since she used to work at a cafe in town just with how efficient she was, she didn't know I was eyeing her off and that was even before I found out that she had that interest."
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Having continued to learn throughout the entirety of her course, Emma thrives on being able to further her skills, and said she will continue to learn in the future.
"I have studied quite a few postgraduate courses for my trade so I'm now qualified in skin needling, henna brow tattooing, eyelash lifting, using different machines like microdermabrasions and lots of other things," she said.
"I feel like I've grown a lot and gained a lot of confidence and knowledge. I'm very familiar with the science in all of our products which I find is really helpful for me to nurture my clients and help find the best answers to their concerns.
"I'm going back to TAFE next year to do my diploma in beauty therapy just to continue to develop my skills. I just love to learn, I'm a bit of a sponge so I'm really excited to go and bounce off the other girls to see what they've learnt and done.
"I guess we'll just see what the future holds."
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