To Degree or not to Degree?

To Degree or not Degree? That is the question!

It’s coming to that time of year where college and sixth form are coming to an end and it’s time to choose which career path you want to take. I have always thought that having to decide exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life at 18 is such a daunting and pressurising task. Nowadays, with university fees being SO expensive, the pressure to choose the right path is more intense than ever, but how is anyone so young, with little or no work experience, meant to know what they want to do for the rest of their life?

Try to keep this in mind,

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” 


This gets repeated all the time and I am a true believer in it. 

The HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) recently reported that in the 2016/17 academic year 6.4% of students, a whopping 102,261 people, did not continue after their first year at degree level. An increase of 15,137 people since 2012/13, and at £9,000 a year that’s an expensive mistake to make! 

So with the intensity of this being for the rest of your life in mind, maybe choosing to follow a path that is closer to your heart and something you get true enjoyment out of should be put out and seriously considered alongside the traditional academic route. 


Learn from my experience

When I left sixth form, in 1997, I went straight down the academic route and studied Business & Marketing at Salford University. It was what we were encouraged to do at my school and to be honest, when I finished my A Levels I had no idea what career path I wanted so I applied for Business purely because it’s a very broad subject and it could be applied to so many different career paths. 

Whilst I was studying my A-levels I had completed a night course in Makeup, so worked as a Makeup Artist alongside studying for my degree. This allowed me time to grow and develop my skills without the pressure of making a long term career decision at that point. It was only ever meant to be a hobby to earn me some cash but I loved it so much that during my second year at University I came to the decision that I wanted to move to London and work as a Makeup Artist. 

If it weren’t for a stern talking to from my Mum I would have left the course there and then during my second year, but now looking back, staying until the end was one of the best decisions I ever made. Although my passion was Makeup and becoming a Makeup Artist, I developed so many business skills that have over the years enabled me to turn my passion into a successful business. I am so glad I completed my degree and after I graduated I went on to enrol at the London College of Fashion to study HND in Fashion Makeup. 


Business Matters

Having now been in the industry for over 20 years and successfully launching my own Makeup Academy in 2010 I have met so many students who have been to Uni, tried the academic route, not enjoyed their course, and after much thought (and unnecessary debt) have eventually decided to follow their dream and do makeup. Luckily now it is a recognised career and parents and teachers are starting to be much more receptive to the thought of it being the next step after school, but it's important to understand that it’s not just about being able to create perfect makeup. In order to be a success in this industry and carve out a longterm career, you need the drive, determination and business acumen alongside your creative talent to push forward. 

When opening the Cassie Lomas Makeup Academy in 2010, my dream was to nurture the talent of aspiring Makeup Artists. I really wanted to help people get started with their careers and provide the support that I never had. I really struggled when I first started out in the industry and my idea was that if I could help people and teach them everything I knew then it would help them move faster into the industry. There are so many talented artists out there of all ages who have no clue where to start and that’s why I opened the Academy. I care a lot about every student that walks through the doors and I will help each and every one of them to succeed wherever I can. I think what a lot of aspiring young people fail to recognise is that turning your passion into a career IS possible. I hope that people will see me and what I have achieved and know its possible for them too. I was once just a young girl from Manchester who started where they are. It worked for me!

The Key to Success

The great thing about the courses we offer at the Academy, is that they not only teach you the technical skills you need in order to become a makeup artist but also the business, sales and marketing skills you need to create a successful business once you graduate. Our courses are intense, I don’t believe in wasting time and the days are filled with content that allow you to learn all the required skills in the shortest amount of time possible for the course you have chosen. The sooner you finish your learning, the sooner you can start getting on with building your career and where the real work begins. 

One of the biggest questions I get refers to when you leave a course like this, some people  assume that jobs will just fly at you and you’ll start working straight away in the industry. Take it from me, like any course whether it be at University or at a Makeup Academy, work experience is KEY. The time after you graduate separates those who want to go on and take on the world and those who simply don’t have enough drive to able to fulfil this. Passion and having the right attitude is everything and always making sure you go above and beyond. Especially if you’re just starting out, say yes to everything. If you have to work extra hours or on jobs you don’t want, always make sure you are saying yes and putting in 110% effort every time, THIS is how you make a name for yourself in the industry and stand out from others who are not as willing, the smallest things will always be acknowledged. If you’re not willing to put the work in after then you won’t just have Kate Moss knocking at your door asking if you can do her makeup. It just doesn’t work like that, and that’s why aftercare is so important to me; that continuing helping hand after you graduate to guide and support you. 

Leaving a course and higher education to embark on your journey in the working world can feel like you’re being thrown into the deep end, in a lot if courses there’s such a big ratio of students to tutors usually and when you’re out there searching for career advice and help, you can’t just pick up the phone and speak to your tutors for help, they simply have too many other students to deal with! Thats why all my graduates leave with my personal phone number and they can contact me at any time for help or advice. We also have an open ended support team with all the tutors available to advise as and when it’s needed. We take the best Artists in the industry and they teach for us which opens up so many more opportunities for the graduates. Having a different tutor every day means there is additional help and advice available for the students to explore. We really do go above and beyond and we’re like a little family! We work together as a team during and after training.


The Future is Bright

The best thing about my job is that I woke up every day feeling happy to go to work. My hobby has become my life and I am lucky that my parents and friends supported me and encouraged me to do it.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be successful in a career path that isn’t necessarily a stand out educational subject. The world is your oyster and makeup artists have proven they are serious about their art and making it a long and lucrative career option. Becoming successful in your career is dependant on the passion you have for what you’re doing, the determination to succeed and how much effort and time you are willing to put in to make something of yourself. You’ll find yourself working for free, working long hours and you might come across people and situations you aren’t used to or don’t like, but it’s all part of character building and those who are determined to succeed WILL succeed. The non-conventional career choice is on the rise and social media has opened up the windows to the world now and shows everyone that fun jobs are out there. So many young people aren’t encouraged to search for what they enjoy doing and if it can be turned into a Job and they need to realise that there are always other avenues available!! If you have a passion for Makeup and think that working in this industry could be for you then only you can make it happen. 

If you would like to know more about the makeup courses we offer at Cassie Lomas Makeup Academy Manchester, our doors our always open for you to come down and meet myself and all the tutors and have a tour of the academy! We have model days where you can come in and have your makeup done and see if you like how we work, and get a chance to speak to other students who may have had then same thoughts and questions as you are having now. All our course prospectus’ and information about funding can be found on the academy website:, or by calling 0161 2365567 and speaking to one of the team, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.