A while ago I wrote a post about different make-up schools/academies in the UK and one that I mentioned was Brushstroke at Shepperton Studio. I wrote that I had heard nothing but good things about them, but someone left a comment saying that “it is a con” and not to go there. They left a pretty scathing review, but never replied when I asked how they were doing now and if they had sorted out the problems they said they had with them.
Brushstroke got in touch with me recently so that they could make an official reply, so I thought I’d make an actual post with the reply for all to see.
“With regard to the statement our comments are as follows:
1: “DO NOT go to Brushstroke at Shepperton. It is a con.”
Our prospectus is broken down on a daily basis and our terms of business are clearly stated, an informal interview is carried out prior to all enrolment’s to ensure that a prospective student makes the right decision for themselves.
2: “The company web site is a con, it claims to have links with the studio but it does not”
The website is a mirror of the prospectus and it includes only students work, we have run our business from Shepperton Studios for over 20 years, within that 20 year period we have built links within these studio, other studios, productions companies, make-up designers, makeup artists etc.
3: “The students are under aged teenagers who have no success in higher education so they go there: the school will accept any student as long as they have the money to pay”
Our student age groups generally range from 16 – 35, when generalising the 2 year course was developed for the younger age group 16- 25 and the 9 month course for the 20-30 (change of career type), although that is not to say when choosing whether to do the 2 year or 9 month is personal to the individual. We interview all students and write to them afterwards to tell them whether we are happy to offer them a place or not.
4: “They force you to pay everything up front and offer no refund”
The 2 year, 3 year and 9 month have a payment plan which is structured over a duration, but as a private company students are duty bound to pay our fees. The reason we go to such lengths in the interview process is to ensure students understand exactly what they are letting themselves in for, therefore as we have taken such time to explain everything in detail we expect students to only commit to the course if they intend to follow it through.
5: “If you don’t like the course, you have to go through legal channel to get your money back”
Prospective students who are unsure whether they would like a course are offered the ability after interview to sit in for a day or as long as they need to decide and ensure that they will like the course. It is their decision.
6: “The tutors are not great artists working in the industry”
All tutors to work at Brushstroke must be currently employed working in the industry, they are only allowed to teach subjects which are appropriate to them i.e. High Fashion- taught by fashion make-up artists , Theatrical by West End Theatre make-up artists, TV make-up and hair by television make-up artist and so on.
7: “The lessons are very slow and have no structure”
Lessons are structured inline with the prospectus that clearly shows subjects to be covered over the duration of the course.
8: “The course drags out over 2 years so they can charge more money”
The 2 year course is cheaper per annum than the 9 month course, i.e. pounds per hour
9: “There is no equipment in the classroom”
In the 20 years of running these courses our Facilities and equipment are second to none. We have 1 special effects/ life casting/mould making make-up room; 4 separate make-up rooms sizes- ranging from big-small- There is an HD/Photographic with a permanent running HD Camera, Large Wide Screen monitor, photographic back drops, LED lighting running daily for student make-up checks; Students buy their own electrical equipment for the course as these will make up part of their kit, although, should they need to use any electrical’s we have enough to cope with 3 courses running at any one time. Make-up kits are supplied free for the course and in addition we have a huge amount of make-up stock from various manufacturers. Brushstroke wig stock room contains over 76,000 wigs ranging from Professional West End wigs; complete Teddington wig stock; human, acrylics and yak hair pieces; beards, side burns, moustaches etc.
10: “I do not know where you got good reviews for Brushstroke”
Without knowing who this person is, we can only say that we pride ourselves being the Premier training school. From experience I would guess that these comments are being made by an individual who has had a change of heart in what career to follow and is looking for somebody to blame, or possibly from an inferior training provider that is struggling to ensure standards.
The industry is extremely small, you cannot survive for 20 years as we have without delivering standards. In addition, it is not possible to be registered with UK Boarder Agency or be able to offer BTEC and ITEC Qualifications, which are external qualifications without offering quality standards which are checked annually.”
Pretty valid points from where I’m sitting. I don’t know any details about the person who left the message, perhaps they’ll reply to this one and leave more info on how they think they were badly treated!?
Make-up courses can be pretty varied from school to school and it can get a bit confusing, especially for those not sure which specific area of Make-up Artistry they want to belong to. Perhaps that’s what happened. Like I say, we can’t really comment on the individuals reasons/experience as we don’t have enough info, but I hope this clears things up for anyone who might have had concerns and you can always go straight to Brushstroke themselves with any queries.