Tara Oldham Head of Education for Lena White

Published on: 4 Mar 2016


I started out at Lena White Ltd in April 2005 as an educator at a time when the company had just commenced on it's expansion scheme. At the time I was the only educator and I have gradually built my department up to a team of 5 education staff at our Head Office and also a team of regionally based educators around the UK.

It is down to me to make sure that the education team runs smoothly and offers all of our students the support they need while carrying out a course with us.

It is important to realise that what students learn in the classroom has to be put into use in a working environment and it is down to us to make sure that they are as prepared as they can be when they leave us to feel confident in their skills in the workplace.

We want OPI nail techs to be the best in the business and to understand the importance of offering a safe, hygienic, quality service to clients with results that last. We also offer our students ongoing training through advanced courses, trouble shooting sessions as well as private practise tailored tuition.

Interview with Tara Oldham

Q. What were you doing before you came to work for Lena White?

I was working in a local salon in Watford as a nail tech and spray tanning technician. The salon was a new start up business (and is still thriving today) and it was great to be in on it from that start as I got to see some of the pitfalls to starting a business and this has given me valuable information that I can pass on to our students.

Q. What attracted you to work for Lena White?

Lena White Ltd is the sole distributor for the fabulous OPI range of nail care products and I was keen to be involved with such a prestigious company and brand.

Q. What is the ethos behind the Lena White brand?

Both Lena White and OPI's Philosophy is to protect the integrity of the natural nail something that is vital in this industry. Lena herself has been teaching Nail technology to students for over 30 years and is passionate about education. She believes it is the driving force behind any good salon or nail tech and that to offer a high standard in education is essential.

Q. What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?

I get to work with the World's best nail care brand and feel that I have perfected my own tech skills to the highest level I could ever have hoped to achieve. The people I work with are great and the opportunity to pass on and share our passion for all things nails is amazing.

Q. What are the most challenging?

Changing peoples attitude towards the nail industry. Good education is key and trying to raise the level of training throughout salons in the UK has proved to be a huge challenge.

Q. To be a successful educator in this field what qualities must you possess?

You have to be passionate. It is your passion that inspires others. Good technical skills are a must as well.

Q. How important is education to career progression as a technician?

Education is so important. Products, techniques, trends are changing rapidly in this industry and you need to stay on top to be the best. I meet techs in training that have been in the industry for years with no additional training and some of them have the worst habits! This is an industry where it is easy to cut corners, become lazy and pick up bad habits that in turn will affect the treatments you give your clients. Training not only refreshes your skills it is a time to network with other techs and pick up hints, tips and ideas to increase your business.

Q. What are the main benefits of receiving training through the Lena White Institute of Education?

We make sure that our students get the training they NEED. We make sure that the course we put them on is suitable for their level of skills and that it fits in around their lives. We encourage our girls to stay in contact with us so we can help them when they need it and we are regularly being asked for advice, help and information from our students.

We give our time freely and willingly and all of our educators share their experiences and passion with students to inspire them and motivate them to achieve the levels of expertise they need to stand out in the industry.

Q. How would you like people to feel when they've finished a course?

Inspired, excited and ready to get going!

Q. What qualities does Lena White look for when recruiting nail technicians?

Passion and enthusiasm. Good basic skills can be built on so long as the passion and the dedication to the profession are there.

Q. What are the reasons why someone should consider working in the nail industry?

The best nail techs are creative and artistic. They like to work with the public and have good communication skills. A lot of mum's with young children take the career up as you can fit it in around family life.

Q. What tips can you give for someone wanting to progress their career in the nail industry?

Get as much training as possible in all areas of the nail industry. Keep your eye out for opportunities and stay in touch with your local nail care brand/ training centre. We constantly employ our own staff from our students that are independent and not already attached to a salon. We are also always being asked to recommend students to other salons.


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