Koorie Student of the Year

Certificate III in Hairdressing

“I would love to be a role model for Indigenous women.”

Becoming a hairdresser wasn’t something that Keana always knew she was going to do. In fact, it took her awhile to find this path. Today, she’d tell you it was the best decision she has made.
“I previously studied nutritional medicine but didn’t enjoy it, so I unenrolled and found work at my local abattoir. After 1.5 years I decided to quit with the intention of getting into a course that I wanted to do,” she shared.

“I’ve always liked being creative and knew that hands on work would be my element. I was initially going to enrol in a beauty course but changed my mind when I discovered I could begin the hairdressing course immediately. And since I started I absolutely love it. My focus at the moment is to be a really good hair stylist.”

Making the decision to quit her job and re-enter education wasn’t without challenges, but Keana made full use of available resources to pursue her goals.

“I ended up applying for Bendigo TAFE’s Koorie Unit Scholarship and study allowance to cover the costs of my education. I also committed to driving from Rochester to Bendigo for training three times a week, and looked for work placement in a local salon to gain more experience,” she said.

“My favourite part of the course was my teachers, who were always supportive whenever I had issues. They coached me along the way and without them, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have now. I’ve learnt a lot in the last ten months.”

Keana said the course provided her with much needed direction in life, and she hopes her story will inspire other Indigenous women to pursue an education in something they love. 

 “Before I started I was lost. I didn’t know what my path in life should be and what I really liked. But when I started hairdressing I committed myself one hundred per cent. Now I love what I do,” she said.

“I’m very proud of myself and really happy that my teacher Julie Mott saw my qualities and recognised my efforts.

“I know there are a lot of Indigenous girls who love hair and makeup, but may feel put off as it’s not a typical career path. I hope it’ll inspire others to see how I’ve committed to studying a course that may not be specifically designed for Indigenous people and how I put in the effort to travel to Bendigo to pursue a path that I love. Hopefully they see my outcomes and know that it’s one hundred per cent worth it.”

keana Kerr