Lots of job openings for make-up artists
Make-up artist Kay-Ann McKenzie sees a world of opportunity open in her field.
The Kingston-based make-up artist, who was the second-place winner in the make-up category of the JN Small Business Loans Barber and Beauty Battle earlier this year, was recently awarded a scholarship to attend an international make-up certification course in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States of America (USA).
"I believe that this field offers a lot of possibilities," McKenzie said, pointing out that she has an interest in 'special effects' make-up, "which I can use to create employment; and work on film sets here in Jamaica."
A movie buff, it was her curiosity about the application of make-up in enhancing special effects in films, which pushed her to become a make-up artist. She certified herself with the HEART Trust/NTA last year, after making a career switch which gives her more time to work with clients.
"The market is growing. More persons are aware of the industry and how it can assist them," states Dawn Lindo, president of the New Kingston-based D'Marie Institute, a training school for make-up artists.
Official data for the number of persons employed locally is sparse; however, Lindo estimates that it could be about 1,800. That figure is based on persons trained at local institutions; turnover in the industry; and interaction with contestants at competitions she adjudicates.
"Most students who attend D'Marie start businesses to sell make-up products that complement their services; and pharmacies are now hiring trained make-up artists to work at beauty care counters to provide tips to their customers," she related.
Alia Wedderburn, head of the School of Aesthetics and Cosmetology at Excelsior Community College, agrees that there is potential for the industry to create more jobs. And, she urges graduates to be more creative with their service offerings.
"It's hard to quantify how many people are employed because many persons pursue it as a part-time job, or as freelance make-up artists," she explained. "I also believe that for persons to flourish within the industry, they need to bring something new to the table. For instance, they could combine make-up with skills in photography or photography fashion; or, find a niche where make-up is in demand."
Wedderburn explained that local artists were well-trained to work in fields that require make-up artistry.
"There are many short ... four-to-eight week courses; and most persons opt to take them. However, there are longer courses certified by the NVQJ or City and Guilds and several private institutions, which also teach skin care and other aspects of the make-up industry. Special effects make-up is an example; and there are other niche areas that are not common in Jamaica," she added.
Students should explore
Lindo noted that her school offers certification up to the diploma level; and she encourages students to explore the different areas where they can find jobs.
"Locally, we have film and theatre productions as options for employment; as well as persons employed as beauty advisers," Lindo stated. "We also encourage our graduates to teach the skills they learn, if they have teaching diplomas."
Gillian Hyde, general manager of JN Small Business Loans stated that, "The beauty industry is an 'in demand sector', which has the potential to generate increased employment."
She pointed out that to support the beauty industry, the categories of "make-up" and "nail technician" were added to the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle, which was held at the National Indoor Sports Centre last April.
"I believe that if this industry is given the necessary support, it will be one of the areas that will help to increase employment; and that is why we hosted the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle to unearth the talent in the sector, while opening up doors for persons to explore the opportunities that exist," she added.
Wedderburn added that the success of the industry will also depend on the development of complementary areas of business.
"Make-up artists should also acquire fundamental skills, in customer service and communications. Those are essential areas that will also help to determine their level of success in the industry," she maintained.