Adrian has a flair for hair and has worked hard to turn his passion into his livelihood, significantly increasing his income and his family’s wellbeing.
In a good week for Adrian’s barbershop in Trinidad, 100 customers might walk through the door. ‘I was doing barbering part-time after work before the Achieve programme,’ Adrian (24) explains. ‘After finishing the programme and gaining all that knowledge, I realised I could make this work for myself, so I decided to put the extra effort in and keep on pushing, and now I’ve got a shop.’
Adrian used to work as a maintenance contractor. Since turning to barbering full-time and opening his own shop, he now earns three times as much money. He’s ploughing most of his profits back into his business, investing in new specialist equipment – such as an air compressor for dyeing hairlines – which will enable him to expand and diversify the services he offers.
But Adrian’s thriving shop means that he now also has a little extra cash for leisure and luxuries. ‘I like plenty outdoor activities, so some months ago I bought a dirt bike,’ he says. ‘That’s the biggest thing I spoiled myself with.’
The Achieve programme, developed by Prince’s Trust International and delivered in Trinidad and Tobago through the National Training Agency, runs in schools as well as Adrian’s college – where it’s incorporated into the vocational courses on offer. The programme focuses on supporting young people to develop essential personal skills that will complement their other learning and improve their life chances. Adrian sums it up simply: ‘I learned how to be a good businessman, a good entrepreneur and a good person.’
First impressions count
Of all the things that Adrian picked up from the programme, which was a mixture of face-to-face sessions and online learning, he says that the tips around financial management, first impressions and social skills have been the most useful, especially as barbers spend so much time one-on-one with their clients.
‘I’m a lot better at dealing with people now and it’s one thing I get plenty compliments on,’ he says. ‘On the course they spoke about how to greet people and that a first impression goes a long way, so I try to remember that and give everybody a good first impression.’
Social skills are vital for personal relationships outside of work too, and Adrian stresses that as well as inspiring him to open his shop, the programme also helped him to grow as an individual.
Practical, relevant and eye-opening
‘It helped me to become a better person. It opened my eyes to plenty things about myself that I needed to strengthen,’ he explains. ‘The Achieve programme showed me that sometimes you need to have a little patience, listen and hear what people have to say. Instead of being somewhat bossy and kind of inconsiderate, now I tend to calm down more and listen before I do certain actions. I’ve become more aware of how my actions could impact other people.’
Adrian also highlights how the learning was all relevant, practical and easy to apply, rather than being abstract or theoretical. ‘I liked how everything in the course was relatable to general life and to things you may have to do in normal life,’ he explains. ‘I’d encourage anybody to go into the Achieve programme because of the things you learn, things that will help you to be better. If you want to be a better person and grow as an individual, the Achieve programme is a good eye-opener for you.’
In future Adrian hopes to expand his barbershop, moving into a bigger premises and taking on employees. ‘My business is my biggest achievement thus far,’ he says. ‘I’m proud of myself for that, for everything that I’ve accomplished.’