I am Paula Foster, a qualified Beauty and Complementary therapist with over 30 years’ experience. I have had a very varied career and have worked in many aspects of the industry.
I am originally from Hertfordshire and trained at Ware College gaining a City and Guilds and IHBC qualification in Beauty therapy and Health.
From college I began my career at Henlow Grange Health farm, where my love for massage and wellbeing treatments began. I was lucky enough to be chosen to train exclusively at the health farm with Ken and Shirley Price in Aromatherapy and Reflexology and was instantly hooked.
I became involved in training new therapists at the private beauty college on-site and so went to Putteridge University in Luton to gain my TDLB qualification.
I progressed to become a senior therapist and part of the management team, being actively involved in setting up the now exclusive Champneys chain of Health spas.
From that exciting opportunity I decided to spread my wings and head to the big smoke, gaining a position at Harrods, meeting Mr Al Fayed and experiencing the glitz and glamour of couture beauty.
Not settling for that, I then obtained a dream job working at Harvey Nichols as the first treatment centre account manager with Clarins.
But I missed teaching and wanted to get out of the rat race of London so I went back to where it began and started teaching at Ware College part time and gained a position as Head of school at Celia Rose. Celia also worked for Dermalogica so I was also seconded to promote and train new business accounts and travel the country delivering training to Colleges, salons and private schools in waxing techniques and skincare.
It was here I met Eve Taylor the queen of Aromatherapy and did some training with her. What an inspiring and motivational lady.
I also met my husband, moved to Manchester and began my Education journey at Bury College, lecturing in Beauty and Complementary therapy for 24 years. It was here I was determined to promote Holistic therapies, and eventually built a Complementary team and gained accreditation to run a degree in Complementary therapies.
One of my ex-students went on to work and run treatments at a local hospice, where I worked occasionally. This led me to have the privilege of training at The Christie hospital, learning and developing techniques to work with patients with cancer. My inspiring tutor was Peter Mackereth, the pioneer of using therapies, especially reflexology, in palliative care.
I gained my CERT ED, taught on the Complementary Degree at Salford University, Beauty management degree and also taught Complementary therapy to Health and Social care students.
I have previously had my own salons, specializing in Beauty and wellbeing treatments working in a very holistic way.
Due to changes in attitudes towards Complementary and holistic therapies and also the merger between neighbouring Colleges, I was made redundant.
This was a blessing in disguise as I then became a wellbeing therapist for NHS staff at the local hospital. Missing teaching to a high standard, I found Gateway Workshops and started a new chapter, combining my love of all things massage and teaching.
I look forward to sharing my experience with you all.