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Estheticians in demand at local beauty and spa businesses
Okanagan College Media Release

Heidi Luken, estheticsShe’s only 19, but Heidi Luken’s esthetics career has taken off.  

A month before graduating from Okanagan College’s Esthetics and Nail Technology Certificate program, Luken was hired by Ten Spot Beauty Bar, a trendy Toronto franchise that recently opened its first B.C. location in West Kelowna.  

“I’ve had multiple job offers and I only graduated. I’m able to negotiate my wage,” Luken says. “With the amount of knowledge you have, employers want you.”  

In the past four years, nearly all of the College’s Esthetics students have found work in the field before graduating. Instructor Candice Timm takes calls from employers across B.C., as far north as the Yukon and from the eastern provinces, looking for fully qualified estheticians trained beyond manicures and pedicures to include skin and body treatments such as massage.  

The spa industry is growing in the Okanagan Valley, Timm says. A Canadian Tourism Commission report predicted strong growth in the spa sector - an average annual rate of 17 per cent. The Spa Association of Canada reported the industry’s tremendous growth was reflected not only in the number of spas, but the diversity of spas and therapies available.  

Okanagan residents interested in an esthetics career can attend an information session on Aug. 4 in Vernon and Aug. 5 in Kelowna to find out more about the Okanagan College program, which is accepting applications for September.  

“It’s not so much about creaming and steaming anymore. The industry is more wellness-based,” Timm says. “The public is becoming more aware of the benefits of health and wellness and de-stressing.”  

The Beauty Bar, estheticsWest Kelowna Ten Spot Beauty Bar owner Lisa Kelley says she had trouble recruiting qualified staff to work at her new location, which opened mid-June.  

“There are a lot of nail technicians looking for work, but not a lot of fully qualified estheticians,” Kelley says. “Heidi has definitely been a valuable asset.”  

Luken’s training in the skincare brand Dermalogica has made her a particularly knowledgeable addition to the Ten Spot Beauty Bar’s staff, Kelley says.  

Timm, a registered massage therapist, clinical esthetician and nail technician, is the main instructor at the College’s Spa Training Centre in Vernon, which is open to the public for appointments from October to June.  

She says the College’s partnership with Dermalogica is among the reasons why employers value the Esthetics certificate, which includes an extra 200 to 300 hours of training over other programs.  

“We include everything from artificial nail treatment to body treatment, including massage, exfoliation and body wraps, which are not usually included in a regular esthetics program,” Timm says.  

“The feedback we get from employers is they’re thrilled with the level of professionalism and knowledge our students have.”  

For Luken, who originally planned to study law, helping people look and feel great is satisfying. She says the College’s reputation, amazing instructors and professional spa training facilities made her studies worth it.  

“I love what I’m doing. I like to be around people,” Luken says. “I feel like I can do anything I want to.”  


Okanagan College Esthetics and Nail Technology Information Nights  

Vernon: Aug. 4, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Spa Training Centre, Vernon Campus, Upper Level, E-Building, Room E212, 7000 College Way.  

Kelowna: Aug. 5, 5:30– 7 p.m., The Centre for Learning, Kelowna Campus, 1000 KLO Road, Room E103.  

Those attending the information sessions will receive a voucher for 70 per cent off a manicure or pedicure at the Spa Training Centre in Vernon. For more information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/spa.