A 17-year-old apprentice from Cardiff is flying to Budapest after support from the Welsh Government’s Jobs Growth Wales+ programme to land her dream role as a Hairdresser.

Darla Wathen recently completed her Level 1 NVQ qualification in Hairdressing and is currently working at Henderson & Co. as a Junior Stylist.

When discussing her route to employment, Darla said: “I wasn’t very academic at school, but I’ve always been a creative person. I decided to meet with Working Wales to scope out my options and Jobs Growth Wales+ appealed to me because of the work placements and hands-on training that were incorporated into your learning.

“Back then I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my future, so I attended a few taster days to explore different career pathways. The courses on offer varied from childcare to beauty to construction and animal care, but it was hairdressing that I discovered I had a passion for.”

Having found her feet, Darla excelled on the programme and quickly proved to her tutors that she was a talented and dedicated learner.

Darla said: “My tutor, Charlotte, played a huge role in how comfortable and at ease I felt on Jobs Growth Wales+. I was nervous when I first started the programme, but she spent a lot of time helping me build on my essential skills before looking for employment.

“As well as working with me to improve my CV, Charlotte would act out interview scenarios with me to get me used to a real-life environment. This massively helped with my confidence and was a huge turning point for me.

“My Jobs Growth Wales+ tutors saw my potential. Everyone treated me like an adult, and I could tell the programme wanted me to succeed.”

With the support she received, Darla soon secured her job at Henderson & Co. in Cardiff and is currently thriving as a Junior Stylist.

Darla continued: “Working at Henderson & Co. has been amazing. I really appreciate the advice the other stylists give me, and I’ve already learnt so much in such a short space of time. When I’m not with clients, I’m either on reception, tidying or doing stock take – I love going to work because no day is the same!”

“I’m really keen to specialise in colour and I’ve been lucky enough to practice different techniques – from block colour, balayage, foils and highlights. I even dyed a customer’s hair red the other day.”

This year, Darla will be flying to Budapest with Henderson & Co. to attend a fashion show workshop.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be going with the team to a Kevin Murphy fashion show. It’s another new adventure and an opportunity for me to be taught by the very best influencers and experts in the industry.”

Darla has also got her sights set on gaining more work experience in Australia before returning to Wales to set up her own salon.

Darla said: “I’m hoping to progress with Henderson & Co, and maybe in a few years even live and work in Australia to learn new techniques again. At the moment I’m taking every day as it comes but it would be amazing to set up my own salon eventually.

“My one piece of advice for people who don’t know what they want to do when they’re at school is to talk to others about your options. I felt incredibly listened to and was lucky enough to find a career because of the training and funding provided through Jobs Growth Wales+.”

To learn more about Jobs Growth Wales+ visit or call Working Wales on 0800 028 4844.