Marseil Alsulaiman applying blush on Yusra Alrifai. They are students of the new program. Photo credit: Emily Britton

Algonquin is home to a new program, and it is the first of its kind in Canada.

The program is introduction to esthetics for new Canadians and it is designed to provide education for Syrian refugees.

Introduction to esthetics for new Canadians first originated in September by Natasha Wood, the program coordinator. She was able to select three courses that would give students the opportunity to learn hands-on skills and later take those skills and apply them in the esthetics field.

Those courses include makeup, waxing, manicure and pedicure.

“One of the most important things that we want to kind of get out there about this program (is) these students are learning the really high demand services that are requested in the industry,” Wood said.

This is also the first time the salon labs are being utilized on the weekends. Wood was able to fit the needs of the students by structuring the program during that time, so now the students have the ability to work during the week.

These 12 students have the opportunity to hone their skills and go into the field with help from the Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre. The OCCSC is the third-party client in this arrangement and gives the students funding for tuition.

Hala Alhamwi is one of the 12 students in the program. Her love of makeup and beauty trends is what led her to enrolling in the program and it is teaching her more than she’s known.

“Every day, there’s something new to know; new tricks you learn how to make that makeup look more perfect and more natural,” Alhamwi said.

The program lasts 10 weeks and only runs on weekends – Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If the students want to continue their learning after the program has finished, they can take the two remaining courses in the regular esthetics program – facials and spa body therapy.

“They’re an amazing group of students; they’re very diverse in their background. They have a lot of natural talent which is really nice to see in the classroom and I think they’re going to be very empowered in the workforce of esthetics,” Wood said.