Spotlight on Glasgow #2 – West College Scotland

October 10th, 2022

October 10th, 2022

In our second feature focusing on Glasgow, we speak to Caroline Grehan Dunn, Curriculum Enhancement Lecturer in Makeup Artistry, at West College Scotland which offers courses in media and fashion makeup, hair and beauty.

Created in 2013 by the merger of Clydebank College, Reid Kerr College in Paisley and James Watt College in Greenock, West College Scotland has 21,500 students and 1,200 staff, making it one of the biggest educational institutions in the country.

A modern, ambition and innovative college, it helps thousands of local people achieve their qualifications every year in state of the art facilities at their campuses in Clydebank, Greenock and Paisley.

Tell us about your college – what do you offer for students interested in makeup, hair and beauty for salon, fashion, theatre, TV and film?

SCQF L5/6 Media Hair and Make-up course (Aug–Dec & Jan-June)

A short full-time course offering students the opportunity to study Basic, Corrective, Bridal and Evening make up with hairstyling and photography skills. The course is a great starting point for anyone looking to embark on a career in Make-up Artistry. This course progresses to a further L6 short full-time course (Jan–June) in Creative Media Make up where students can start to specialise in specific make up skills in character make up, wigs and postiche and styling to create a total look along with further photography skills all suited to working in Theatre, Film and TV.

On completion of these L5 and L6 courses students can make an informed choice for progression either into the Fashion Make up Industry or Media Make up Industry.

HNC Fashion Make up 1 year full-time 9 hours per week

1 year full time intense Fashion Make-up course covering Basic, Editorial, Runway, Classic Current Make-up and Hair skills to help prepare for a career in the Industry – students also learn about the History of Hair and Make up to develop a full understanding of how trends evolve, participate in seminars, social media skills and work placement to help prepare them for Industry.

Students cover a wide variety of genres and are encouraged to work as creatively as possible on a wide selection of models.

HND 2 year Media Make up

A comprehensive 2-year programme of study to equip students with all the practical skills and knowledge required to work successfully as a trainee MUA for film, TV and Theatre.

Students will learn skills in various make up techniques such as period and character work, postiche and hairstyling, casualty simulation, casting, sculpting and moulding, production studies including script marking.

On successful completion, students can progress to a variety of employment opportunities within industry or choose to study further to Degree level.

Many of our students have forged successful careers in industry, from London’s West End to major TV/film Productions.

We also run various part-time evening classes throughout the year, including barbering/styling hair, Insta Makeup, makeup lessons and Bridal Makeup.


What sets you apart from other colleges?

Our staff are a dedicated team and have a wide range of professional experiences and industry knowledge. We work in a warm friendly environment in rooms which are purpose built, offering great student support as well as guidance.

Students have access to an excellent supply of current equipment and techniques all to Industry Standard as well as great industry partnerships.  We also try to put as much support in place as possible as in regard to funding, health and wellbeing, guidance, and we have a structured approach to accessing all the help and support a student may need early on in their college journey.


What background do your lecturers have?  How do they keep their skills and product knowledge current?

Ongoing CPD (continuing professional development) in all areas, our staff are highly motivated in undertaking regular and current CPD which relates to changes in industry.

Our highly skilled, industry experienced staff have vast knowledge of working within the Industry and some do still work in Industry, alongside their lecturing timetable.

We also have strong links and affiliations with Industry and brands, supporting both staff and students.

I also feel our communication and the ability to work as a tight team is what really makes the experience for the students, being able to speak to all lecturers, adapting and being flexible inevitably supporting each other and students.


What is coming up for the new academic year?  How many students are you expecting on your makeup, hair and beauty courses?

100 + students for Make-up Courses, short new courses, and Industry CPD training on campus, as well as hopefully being back at the Scottish Hair & Beauty show for 2022/23.

We are also very much looking forward to resuming the first of a normal on campus working environment post-covid and welcoming students and clients back to the department.

More commercial opportunities with the launch of our commercial Salon again and in house Make up and Dry bar, with students being able to get back out into industry.


What opportunities are there in Glasgow specifically, and Scotland more generally for newly qualified students?

Being in the outskirts of the largest city in Scotland many film, music, stage and TV events are happening all year round. Pre-covid we have had some very high-profile films created in Scotland as well as events such as MOBO’s, Scottish Open, MTV Awards and the return of the Edinburgh Fringe this year.  We are very much looking forward to all and assisting our students in securing employment opportunities.

We also have Film Studios based at Cumbernauld approx. 20 miles away where Outlander is based when not on location.  We also have another studio that, once open, will be based in the heart of the west end of Glasgow.

Students can work close to home as well as travel further for job opportunities. Central Scotland is Geographically small and the ability to commute between the two main cities is only around 45mins – 1 hour.


What achievements are you most proud of from your student alumni?

We are very proud of every one of our past students, whereever they progress to.  It’s a tough industry to get into, and even harder to stay in.  Here are a few of our alumni, giving an example of what is possible after qualifying.

Craig Forrest-Thomas – Wig Master and Hair & Make-up Head, Jamie Genevieve – Founder of Vieve and beauty blogger, Laura Breslin – Freelance Film/TV hair and makeup artist, Laura McGowan – Hair and Makeup Designer Film/TV, Magdalena Kulig – Prosthetic artist, Kasia Lerch- Medical prosthesis and Laura Wisinger– Makeup Designer Film/TV.  Also in Film and TV: Kayleigh Beatton, Christine Close, Joy Lowrie, and Paula Rebanks (to name just a few).

Leigh Blaney – Bridal and Theatre Head, Stephanie McKinlay– Bridal and Instagram, Claire Roddie – Bridal & Film/TV, Katie Hellier – Business owner (salon), Louise Ballantyne – Business (salon), Gemma Hughes – Bridal and Katie Mallin – Bridal.

We are there to support in college and when they are in Industry and we always try to maintain links with them, we recently had Laura McGowan back on campus doing an honest Q&A Session with our students on getting into the industry, working with Covid, and changing careers – the current students really benefitted from this, and it helped them make an informed choice on progressing or moving into industry.

We also have a lot of students who are now lecturing within the industry throughout Scotland.


What makes Glasgow a special city for students to study?  What is its USP?

Glasgow is the hub of filmmaking in Scotland and, in recent years, American crews have chosen Glasgow as it replicates the layout of many US cities with its grid street map.

Glasgow has always been at the forefront of film, music, culture, theatre, fashion and shopping offering fabulous opportunities for students to experience whilst studying.

It is also a very friendly place, we have had students travel from Poland and Ireland to study with us who then settle in Glasgow, there’s always such a buzz in the city centre with lots going on.


If any of our readers are interested in studying with you, how do they apply?  What qualifications or experience do they need?

West College Scotland welcomes students from all over the country to study make up artistry.   The main quality we would ask for is the passion for make-up.  We look for students who are enthusiastic, show artistic flair, have the ability to research and are able to draw from previous life and employment or study experiences.

Each applicant is chosen individually from their application and personal statement, this along with an informal interview will allow the experienced staff choose the right course for them. Students can apply for funding for all levels of study.

We currently finalising places for 2022/23 Aug start, NC6 Hair and Make up applications will open again shortly for Jan 2023 start and the HNC/HND applications will reopen early 2023.

Follow West College on Instagram and facebook.


Like this? Subscribe to Warpaint here.





Posted In

, , , , , , ,


, , , , , , , , , , ,

By Sarah Dann

Comments are closed.