People in Brighton and Hove urged to train as a dog groomer this summer

Brightonians are being urged to spend the summer learning how to groom a dog in order to help plug the skills gap in the industry.

There is a national shortage of qualified dog groomers, and with Brighton holding the title of most dog friendly city in the UK, this means that salons are packed out with pooches looking to be pampered.

Seeing the need for quality training in the field, St James Street-based groomers Bone Idol opened the Bone Idol Academy in Blatchington Road, Hove, where doggy stylists of the future can study for their iPET Network qualifications.

And with summer breaks just around the corner, the firm is urging would-be groomers to use the time to learn a new skill which could be a rewarding and creative career.

The team from Brighton-based Bone Idol dog groomers

Scott Learmouth, co-founder of Bone Idol, said: "Dog grooming is a massive growth industry, and many salons are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality services.

"It is so important that our industry responds to this in the right way, with high quality qualifications and training, to ensure that the welfare of the UK's dogs is always top priority.

"The iPET Network courses that we offer are flexible and relaxed, so the summer holidays is a great time to come and see if dog grooming is the career for you."

Teaching at the state-of-the-art grooming academy is led by Helen Kirby, who appeared on the most recent series of BBC grooming show Pooch Perfect.

Teaching at the state-of-the-art grooming academy in Hove is led by Helen Kirby

Dedicated groomer Helen honed her skills at Bone Idol's Brighton salon, and has even traveled to Malaysia to learn the Asian Fusion grooming style from the experts.

Helen said: "We understand that a career change is a massive step, so relaxed and flexible are our watchwords.

"All of our students can learn at their own pace in a friendly and kind environment, and we are as passionate about dogs and their welfare as you are. Our hands-on approach to learning we believe is very important, as we want the end result to be confident groomers ready to go to work in the industry, or start their own businesses."

People like Julie Britton, who used her iPET Network training to set up Julie's Groom Room, after studying at the Bone Idol Academy in Hove.

Could you become a dog groomer?

She said: "Growing up I was always a 'naughty girl' and was expelled from school, leaving with no qualifications.

"On his deathbed my dad said I should follow my dreams and work with dogs, at one time he had nine dogs of his own, and knew how much I loved them.

"It was the hardest thing in the world to hear, but I knew that I had to change my life and start putting myself first.

"When I took my dog Honey to the groomer I used to stay and watch, and dreamed of being able to groom Honey myself, when I told Jason my partner he said 'you should do it, I believe in you'.

"Doing that course literally saved me, but I was so nervous to start the course. I thought at 48 that I would be the oldest one there, and that I wouldn't be able to pick things up, but when I arrived it was just wonderful."But everyone is so professional and course leader Helen's voice just calmed me, and I realised that I was doing what I had always dreamed of.

"Now I have my own grooming business with thirty clients. My life has been utterly transformed!"

To find out more about the Bone Idol Academy, go to www.boneidol.co.uk

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