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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

TAFE NSW Helping Local Hairdressers To ‘Spot A Spot’ And Speak Up To Save Lives

South Coast hairdressers, barbers, and beauticians can access a new TAFE NSW course to gain the skills to 'spot a spot' and speak up if they see something.

Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with one Australian diagnosed every 30 minutes and around 1300 deaths every year.

Developed in collaboration with TAFE NSW, the Australian Melanoma Research Foundation, Hair and Beauty Australia, Keune, and Airyday, the course aims to increase early awareness and prevention of skin cancer in communities across Australia.

TAFE NSW Hairdressing and Barbering Head Teacher Vanessa Grant said the 'Spot a Spot' course is the first to focus on hairdressers, barbers, and beauticians working in a salon environment.

"The course showcases real-life case studies of hairdressers and beauticians with their clients and the process they went through to raise concerns about skin changes that turned out to be skin cancer," said Ms Grant.

TAFE NSW will offer free places to TAFE NSW apprentices studying Certificate III in Hairdressing and Barbering and Certificate IV in Beauty to help skill the future workforce in these important conversations.

"It's a powerful tool for the hair and industry, and arms TAFE NSW apprentices with real-world skills to confidently communicate concerns with their clients."

Maureen Harding, the National President of HABA, said the course will help hair and beauty staff to start the conversation with their clients.

"I've been a hairdresser for 50 years and have had these conversations with my clients, including ones that turned out to have lifesaving outcomes," said Ms Harding.

"What's great about this course is that it can be completed in an hour and on a mobile device. It offers practical information about what makes a spot suspicious, and different ways to start a conversation with a client about a subject that can be very scary."

Dr Wayne Harvey from the Australian Melanoma Research Foundation said the survival rate from advanced melanoma has improved over the last decade, largely due to improvements in detection and treatment.

"We know 90% of melanomas can be treated successfully if caught early. Early detection is associated with high survival rates. Hairdressers and barbers are in regular contact with their clients and access hard-to-see spots, so they are very well placed to recognise skin changes," said Dr Harvey.

"Helping the industry to develop the skills to recognise a suspicious spot and then confidently talk about skin changes with their clients has the potential to significantly contribute to reducing the incidence of melanoma long term."

To find out more about ‘Spot a Spot’ visit

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