September 2018

Trailblazer Harprit recognised for dedication at British Indian Awards

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The Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Enhancement and lecturer at UCB beat off stiff competition to win Best in Education at the British Indian Awards.

Harprit Thacker has been blazing a trail since starting at UCB as a spa and beauty therapy lecturer 18 years ago, and was thrilled to be recognised at the awards which reward the achievements of the British Indian community across the sectors.

Nominated for the award by past students, members of the public and people across the spa industry, Harprit said she was “shocked” when her name was read out at the glittering ceremony at The St Johns Hotel near Birmingham.

“Having worked in education for 18 years, it was nice even to be nominated,” she said. “I looked at the names of the other finalists and thought ‘wow’, I’m just happy to be in the company of all these great people. I was absolutely shocked when they read my name out and feel privileged to be recognised for my achievements.”

As part of a Punjabi Sikh family who came to England 40 years ago, Harprit was born in the UK and went through the English school system. Setting her heart on a career in spa and beauty therapy, she then embarked on a three-year health and beauty therapy course in this field. The journey, however, was not always easy.

“I was the only the Asian on the course and there was a stigma at the time,” she said. “Not many British Asian girls were allowed to go to university either, so I was different. But, I worked really, really hard and was given the opportunity to work for two American firms, before being appointed senior spa and beauty therapist at Birmingham’s only five star hotel at the time.”

Making the transition into education, Harprit was appointed programme leader for short courses in the community and programme manager for BTEC Nationals in Beauty Therapy Sciences at UCB and proved to be such an asset, she was made Assistant Dean of the School of Sport and Creative Services. She recently took up the position of Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning Enhancement as a more strategic role.

Harprit, an active member of the UK Spa Association, has been instrumental in the development of many degrees and college courses at UCB and has provided extensive support on an operational level for the realistic working environments (commercial hair, beauty and sports salons/clinics) at UCB’s Richmond House.

She is also the UCB quality link coordinator for a range of both collaborative provision and franchise courses offered at seven different colleges across the UK.

Other achievements include being involved in two European Union funded projects, ‘Innovations and Learning in Spa Management’, bringing together higher education institutions and tourist enterprises to develop research into the spa industry, and ‘Health and Well-being in Tourist Destinations’, developing a framework for public bodies, destination management organisations (DMOs) and private companies. 

In their sixth year, the British Indian Awards are part of the Diversity Awards, a platform for the achievements of ethnic minority communities throughout the UK. There were 24 categories in total.

Find out more about courses at the School of Sport and Creative Services.

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