Issue 2 - March 1, 2010 enews home

Tracey-Lee finally makes the cut in Tennant Creek

Tracey-Lee Konidaris

Tracey-Lee Konidaris

By Jason McIntosh

At the age of 14, Tracey-Lee Konidaris's dream of a hairdressing career was crushed.

The owner of a salon where she hoped to do an apprenticeship took one look at her and said she wasn't suited to the job.

Nearly 25 years later, however, her dream is being realised through a hairdressing apprenticeship at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

The Tennant Creek local is one of many mature age apprentices smashing the stereotypes in their professions.

Tracey-Lee’s second attempt to enter hairdressing began 18 months ago when she bought the salon of a friend who was leaving Central Australia.

"I had been doing facials and nails at the business when one day out of the blue she asked if I wanted to buy it," she said.

Suddenly Tracey-Lee was the proud owner of a salon, “Cutt’n Loose”, and realised she needed the skills to run it.

She approached CDU's Tennant Creek campus where an arrangement was made for her to undertake intensive block training at the university's Alice Springs campus.

Tracey-Lee’s work partner, a senior hairdresser, has arranged to supervise her progress.

Now entering her second year of the apprenticeship, Tracey-Lee said she was thrilled to learn the trade but said the apprenticeship required strong commitment.

“Juggling the business, three kids and a husband is tough work, but family and the community are supporting me to develop my business," she said.

Her advice to other mature age apprentices was to take on a career they enjoyed.

"They need to see that age and experience have huge advantages in an apprenticeship and be really committed to the cause," she said.