False accreditation accusations against Louth makeup academy leave students without qualifications
The false accreditation accusations against a Louth based makeup academy have caused widespread disbelief among many; but perhaps the worst hit by this revelation were the students of this academy themselves, who were suddenly left with nothing to show for their 10 month long intensive make-up study.
Avant Garde Make-up Academy and Studio, based in Drogheda, had said that it was accredited by the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology(CIBTAC), the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC),the National Association of Screen Make-up artists and Hairdressers(Nasmah); and the Guild of Professionals and Beauty Therapists.
The graduation certificates provided by them to their students bear the logos of Nasmah, Babtac and the Guild of Professionals and Beauty Therapists. In the past week, it was revealed that none of these agencies are affiliated to the academy, which puts a gigantic question mark on the qualifications provided to their students.
Naomi Tully, an ex-student of the academy, said that she still has difficulty registering what transpired in the past week. “I just can’t believe that this has happened. I just cant register in my head, why we have all been fed a lie,” she said.
“And it’s not just me, hundreds of other girls are in the exact same position- we have nothing to show for our hard work.”
“I feel devastated,” said Tully. “It has only really hit me now in the last few days, what’s happening. I was looking to expand my trade with my qualification, but unfortunately I’m not given that opportunity now.”
Tully said that she spent around €5000 pursuing this course, because she wanted to pursue her passion.
“I paid €3,500 for the actual course. €550 for make-up a kit, then more for insurance and anything else I needed along the way. Over all, like €5,000," she said.
“I was a struggling student, and I worked two jobs. But when it’s something you love- your passion, you’ll do anything. I wanted to do nothing more than to pursue my passion, and it was all absolutely pointless.”
She said that she is ‘fortunate’ to be employed with a brand that has reassured her that this development won’t affect her job, but she knows people that haven’t been lucky.
“I know about this one lady- she was on the course, and she has worked for incredible brands. She was offered a teaching job in the academy that we trained in, but she decided to do a bit on her own.
“She was doing her own freelance work. The day this came out, she had a full day of appointments fixed. Once it was out there, she had every single one of her appointments cancelled.
“When you’re well recognised, like she was, there is a fantastic income behind it. She might have lost out on €500 a day.”
Tully said that she feels ‘betrayed,’ by the director of the academy- Emma Woods-Garry, as she looked up to her and said that she was a fantastic teacher.
“I wanted to be Emma. She was so inspirational as a businesswoman. I wanted to go out, work with a few brands, then I wanted to teach, open up my own academy.
“I just feel betrayed. We built our own personal relationships with Emma that made you want to work with to your best. Now, I just feel like my trust is completely gone.”
Tully said even though she is safe in her current job, the problem with qualifications might hinder her future prospects.
“I paid that amount of money to get the opportunity to work off site- for a photoshoot in Dublin, for a film set, to have nothing to show for it is devastating,” she said. “If I was to try and take that route, I don’t have those qualifications. “
Tully hopes that the ex students and students of the academy get “the justice we deserve.”
“We are not getting the answers that we need.
“There has been no contact from Emma. I would just love to know why this has happened. Just why? This has been going on for so long, it’s only coming to light now.
“I would just love to know- how did she think that this was acceptable?”
Furthermore, there are legal actions now being taken against the academy: They have been served with a cease and desist letter by one of the agencies they claimed affiliation to, Babtac.
Babtac said that they are taking legal action after carrying out an internal investigation into the matter.
“We have appointed a lawyer to deal with the issue further; we have sent them a cease and desist letter which basically tells them that they must stop using our name,” said Victoria Short, spokesperson for BABTAC. “Our lawyer will send them a follow up letter soon.”
Short said that as of now, BABTAC are “not intending to take them to the court yet because there are many unknown variables involved.”
“We might change what we’re doing now and we might take legal action, but not at the moment.”
In the past week, the other three standard agencies have clarified that they are not associated with the Avant Garde Make-up academy.
Avant Garde remained unavailable for a comment.