A head start
Devon Life|October 2020
A head start
Mary Pugsley MBE speaks to GLEN KING about the exciting expansion of Hair@theAcademy to new larger premises located in the heart of Exeter
GLEN KING

Mary Pugsley set up Hair@theAcademy in 2004 at Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, operating from a small salon.

A specialist training programme – the only one of its kind in the UK – Hair@ theAcademy trains vulnerable young adults furthest away from education, in care, with complex needs and the homeless, achieving an outstanding 96% success record of getting students into paid employment or further education. All tutors are former learners.

Mary says: “Our ethos is ‘Education to Employment’ working with vulnerable young people in our community from all kinds of backgrounds and circumstances, including many who have nowhere else to go. We support them towards completion of work ready qualifications delivering hairdressing, barbering, customer service, maths and English.”

Following relocation of The Deaf Academy to Exmouth, it was a race against time to find suitable premises to continue promoting inclusion, reduce exclusion, eliminate barriers to learning and participation for all those hardto-reach students and expand provision to meet growing need.

Then The Incorporation of Weavers, Fullers and Shearmen came to Mary’s rescue, purchasing freehold property Cornerstone, so she could continue her good works. As part of its work the Exeter charity, based at the unique medieval Tuckers Hall in Fore Street, provides support for disadvantaged young people aged 16-25 to receive training and assistance to enable them into employment. This fitted perfectly with Hair@theAcademy’s delivery programme.

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October 2020