Training gives a head start to Sunderland salon owner

A mother who battled her way back to health after being treated for cancer has now invested in her own business

Aimee McPherson with Lyndsay Thompson and Adele Culmer
Aimee McPherson with Lyndsay Thompson and Adele Culmer

A mother who battled her way back to health after being treated for cancer has now invested in her own business.

Lyndsay Thompson, 35, of Hylton Castle, Sunderland, was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

The experience made her look at her life “very differently” and was the catalyst for her decision to take redundancy from a steady, secure long-term job.

Thompson worked for Sunderland City Council at the time, as part of the Telecare response team, which supports vulnerable adults to live independently.

She said: “I was working nightshifts and really struggling to make it fit around my family life. After everything I’d been through with the cancer, I just decided that if I wasn’t happy in my job I should change it. I felt I needed to take a chance. So I took a redundancy pay-off and we planned to spend it on a deposit for a new house. I then set about thinking about what to do next.”

Thompson started looking for a job and had been unemployed for a few months when a conversation with her hairdresser put her on an unexpected path.

She said: “I got talking to a lady who was doing my hair one day in my local salon, Glam. We got chatting about my situation and she ended up asking me if I’d be interested in buying her salon.

“I’d never even considered hair as a career before but I am quite a gregarious, people person and I knew I couldn’t go back to a desk job so I decided that I would look into it.”

The JobCentre enrolled Thompson on a Party Pin-up hair taster course with Sunderland-based training provider, BL Training which then led to her securing an apprenticeship in hair. In the meantime, Thompson also took business advice about buying the hair salon.

Six months on, she is now the owner of Glam Hair & Beauty in Southwick, Sunderland.

Aimee McPherson, Thompson’s tutor at BL Training, said: “Lyndsay’s story is so inspiring. She is the first to admit that changing from an academic job to a practical role has been a huge learning curve and hasn’t been easy but what she has achieved in such a short space of time is remarkable. It just goes to show that training can be the key to a totally new vocation that can help you fulfil your ambitions.”

Thompson, who has children aged 16 and three, is now expanding the business, which has five staff. She is planning to introduce beauty and teeth-whitening services.

She said: “When I took my redundancy money, never did I think in a million years that I’d buy a business with it, especially one in an industry I had absolutely no experience of, but the training from BL has helped me achieve that and I’m so grateful.”

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