I have always been passionate about the value of education and have worked really hard and invested a lot of time in my own. I didn't find learning at school easy and had to find my own ways to make information stick - silly rhymes, doodle drawings, recording myself talking - lots of different ways but the point is with hard work, being organised and finding the right way to learn for me, it did. I didn't always pass my exams first time but I stuck at it and got to where I wanted to be.
A large part of my career has been teaching others - either in a commercial organisation, at a college or trainee groomers that work for me. I can honestly tell you that in all my years of teaching not one of my students has failed their exams.
My ability to share my knowledge to more trainee groomers has been a long held desire for a number of years and technology now makes this possible.
I hope by sharing my knowledge with you we continue to raise grooming industry standards, gaining appreciation and awareness of the skills involved, but above all ensuring animals are handled and cared for safely, whilst being made to look FABULOUS!
I met Julie in 2015 when I asked her to come and train some of my customer service and sales staff and I was blown away by the depth of knowledge a groomer needs to have; covering so many different aspects - animal handling, first aid, anatomy, product knowledge, business skills and that's even before we get to the practical skills to groom - control, dexterity, creativity, strength - the list goes on. I couldn't believe that training for all of those skills is optional and so many groomers are self taught, or that is can be so hard to find good quality teaching.
I have considerable marketing experience in a number of product areas including food, hairdressing and cosmetics - industries for which you have to be qualified before you can go anywhere near a customer. Why is it different for dog grooming?
In 2020 Julie and I set up Harris & Hargraves and created the Julie Harris Education platform that provides easy to follow education to create under-pinning knowledge for groomers of all levels of experience. We look forward to contributing to the continuing education of groomers.
We met Rachel when Basingstoke College of Technology hosted one of our Kind Hands Tour dates. We were impressed with her organisational and interpersonal skills, how well respected Rachel was within BCOT and also what she had achieved for the college by setting up and running the Level 2 grooming course. When Rachel left BCOT to look for new opportunities we swooped in and asked whether she would like to become part of the team. Here's more about Rachel in her own words:
I have been Lecturing in Animal Care/Management and Dog Grooming in Further Education colleges since 2008. During this time, I have taken on a variety of roles as Tutor, Unit Lecturer, Assessor, Course Manager, Senior Practitioner as well as Internal Verifier. I have been lucky enough to teach a range of both theory and practical units as well as accompanying learners on industry related visits in the UK and abroad.
I have always been passionate about training learners to industry standards and thrive on seeing them achieve and land their dream job in industry! Welfare is also my shared passion- only by raising the standard and accessibility of education and training provided can we raise standards in captive animal welfare. Pet care professionals are required to have such a range of knowledge to be entrusted with people’s pets; it should be done right! This is why I am honoured to be working with Julie Harris Education who share these values.
Although I have taught Dog Grooming for many years, my latest role allowed me to set up and develop new course provision and a training salon for adult learners at Level 2. I am excited to now use all the skills I have acquired during my career to work with Julie Harris Education helping groomers in industry improve their skills and knowledge to implement within their salon on a daily basis.