A young carer’s journey to confidence and skill building with Realise


Leonnie McDowall, a young carer, leveraged the hairdressing course offered by Realise to boost her confidence and provide care for her mother.

About Leonnie:

Leonnie McDowall found herself in the role of a young carer for her mother while also grappling with unemployment. Her path took a positive turn when she learned about the fully funded training opportunities provided by Realise during a conversation with her Work Coach at the Job Centre.

Leonnie was introduced to a hair and employability course at the Bradford Skills Hub, a facility owned by Realise. Recognising the potential benefits, she eagerly enrolled, hoping to acquire a valuable skill and give her mother the gift of confidence through hairstyling.

The course had an immediate impact on Leonnie. After just one session, she felt ready to experiment with hairstyles on her mother. She said, “I have learnt more about different hair types and styles. I am also confident to work on my mum’s hair to make her feel comfortable with how she looks.”

Leonnie’s newfound skills not only boosted her and her mother’s confidence but also opened doors for a potential career in a field she enjoys. She particularly appreciated the practical aspects of the course, especially the braiding days.

Paula, Leonnie’s tutor, commended her rapid progress, attributing it to her dedication and practice – “Leonnie is a hard worker, friendly and willing to learn and listen to others. She over comes her personal barriers every day by attending class and her confidence is growing more and more.”

Encouraged by her positive experience, Leonnie now advocates for Realise’s fully funded training programme’s. She said, “I would definitely recommend Realise because everyone is very welcoming and helpful and makes you feel comfortable and secure in your skills.”

“The Realise tutors have both been welcoming and made me feel comfortable during their classes, I felt secure joining in with the sessions because of their caring nature.”

Leonnie McDowall.

Level 1 hairdressing award

During this programme you will learn the skills, knowledge and behaviours you need to begin your hairdressing career.

You will learn how to:

  • Create two strand twists, fishtail, French plait and cornrow plaits.
  • Research and create a look.
  • Use a block head to create an array of hairstyles.
  • Gain knowledge and skills to prepare you for working in the hairdressing industry.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses and get help with job searching.
  • Understand mental health, forms of mental illnesses, and cultural influences.
  • Write an attractive CV.

Do you want to kick start your career?

Realise have opportunities for all, ranging from short courses to support the transition into a new career, to maths and English programmes, and more! Take a look at what we can offer you.