Raising the Bar for the Beauty Professional

Article excerpt

For coiffeur master Tony Galvez, the past years have been a continuous journey on his personal pursuit to raise the standards for Filipino beauty workers-hair stylists, nail technicians, among others-here in the Philippines through licensing, in order to be at par with counterparts worldwide and to uplift the dignity and practice of cosmetology in the country.Galvez, who pioneered the Tony Galvez School of Cosmetology (TGSC) and who has been distributing imported beauty products through Perfect Solution Trading, Inc., says that the stricter standards of other progressive countries in the beauty trade motivated him to exert effort into raising the bar for local beauty workers through education and the idea of licensure."Cosmetology is a serious business and profession," he says. According to him, countries such as the UK, USA, Canada or Australia require a beauty professional to go through a rigorous routine and education in order to obtain a license to become a registered beautician."If I tell them (foreigners) that I'm a hairstylist and I'm a cosmetologist, they will ask me if I have a license. You cannot practice beauty in these countries without getting a license or even passing the board examination tests," he explains, adding that even some other blue collar job workers such as "janitors" have licenses in the countries he mentioned."It is because they (foreign countries) are protecting their consumers and at the same time, the practitioners (workers) receive recognition and prestige and their governments receive their respective taxes."Galvez, who also happens to be the public relations officer of the Technical-Vocational School Association of the Philippines-Quezon City (TEVSAPHIL-QC), seems to have projected a perfect work set-up but he notes that the Philippines is "not exposed to this kind of licensing" as the environment here in the country promotes a "fast track" kind of orientation and education to aspiring beauty workers. Cosmetology, in its essence based on international standards, is a two-year, full technical-vocational (tech-voc) course tackling the numerous rudiments and disciplines involved in the applications of hairstyling, nail care, skin care, among others. "There are also applied subjects for it such as ethics, psychology, math and science," Galvez adds.In the Philippines, though, there is a dominant mindset for a quick cosmetology study, as Galvez mentions that organizations such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) focus more on increasing employment in a jiffy through shorter learning sessions.This leads to the often undervalued notion Filipinos have for tech-voc courses, especially with the emphasis that finishing a four-year college degree is what matters more."It is ok that if you want a fast job, you take a [short] vocational course. But not all courses are to be considered as easy and fast track, like cosmetology [since you need years of education and experience before you become a professional and are allowed to give service to the consumers,]" Galvez says.Although he clarifies that "there is nothing wrong with the government policy of providing short-term livelihood programs for those who are in the lower rung of the economic strata, for these courses address head-on the pressing concern of putting food on the table and money in the pockets. In this case, the immediate nature of the problem controls the appropriateness of the remedy. I do not have a quarrel on this issue. But a caveat, though-most of the time, on account of fast-tracking the absorption of knowledge and skills, short-term and quick-fix solutions have short-lived existence. Thereby, putting sustainability into serious question."He furthers in an official statement that "if the government will put a premium on competitiveness and the [uplifiting] of professional integrity, there is no other way but to go tech-voc," while also mentioning that getting a certification in a beauty course alone is not enough as one needs a thorough set of knowledge when it comes to cosmetology. …