A NEW hairdressing academy is set to open in Inverkeithing later this year.

Kate McQuillan, who owns Divit Barbers on the High Street, is hoping to have her cutting edge teaching school open by Christmas so she can offer “life changing” qualifications to people who would otherwise have to travel as far as Glasgow to get training.

She told the Press: “There’s nothing in this area for teaching anyone barbering, you either have to go to Edinburgh or Glasgow if you can’t get into a local college, so I just thought I would bring one smack bang in the middle!”

Kate has big plans for KM Hair Academy, which will be based in her existing salon.

She has already approached Inverkeithing and Beath high schools to offer work placements for pupils to pursue SQA qualifications and she plans to give courses to youngsters who are in residential schools too.

Inspired by her time teaching in prisons, Kate knows just how life changing this skill can be.

She continued: “I taught in the prison service for 11 years, I was very passionate about giving some of my learners, who had never even been to school, a qualification.

“To see someone putting in the work and getting their certificate, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.

“One of my learners from Edinburgh prison popped into the shop at Christmas and he brought me a big basket with condiments and everything in it.

“He said ‘I just want to say thank you so much, you didn’t judge me and you gave me a qualification which I thought I’d never use but I’m working in a barbers in Leith, I’m loving it and I’ve just been put in charge’.

“Then he said ‘Any time I get stuck I think what would Kate do. Honestly you’ve changed my life and I can’t thank you enough.’ I was in tears.”

To add to her experience, she is also beginning work as a part time lecturer at West Lothian College. She aims to use this as a way to gain experience in teaching young people, something that she hasn’t done yet.

While Kate still needs to straighten out the details, she knows she will be offering these classes at a snip.

“I’ll do it as cheap as possible and we’ll do a payment plan because not everybody has money in their pocket.”

She added: “It’s not about making money, it’s about changing people’s lives.”