5 May 2023

Pretty pooches get the royal treatment as Yallah groomers bring home ribbons

| Katrina Condie
Start the conversation
Women with dogs

TAFE NSW Yallah pet grooming teacher Bonnie Harrison and TAFE NSW graduate Amanda Ensor at the Royal Easter Show. Photo: TAFE NSW.

A team of Yallah pet groomers has clipped, coifed and plucked its way to a string of top gongs at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Led by TAFE NSW Yallah pet grooming teacher Bonnie Harrison, the three-person team placed in a host of categories at the Sydney Royal Pet Grooming Competition, including ‘Novice Purebred Scissor’, ‘Novice Poodle’, ‘Asian Fusion Model Dog’ and ‘Open Purebred Scissor’.

It comes amid a nationwide COVID-led boom in pet ownership, with Animal Medicines Australia reporting an estimated 30.4 million pets across the country, with 69 per cent of households now owning a pet, up from 61 per cent two years ago.

Bonnie, who runs her own pet grooming salon in addition to teaching at TAFE NSW, said the industry was booming and graduates were highly sought-after.

READ ALSO From A+ to struggle street and back on top, UoW student Lord Thabet is a next generation leader in engineering

Amanda Ensor is one of the many TAFE NSW Yallah graduates to find immediate work in the industry. The former hairdresser and celebrity fashion stylist completed the Certificate III in Pet Grooming earlier this month, making the transition from people to pooches.

Amanda finished fourth in the Novice Purebred Scissor at the Royal and said TAFE NSW had given her the practical skills and experience to secure a job with Handsome Pooch just weeks after graduating.

“I’ve always had a passion for animals and I love the creativity side of pet grooming,” she said.

“Bonnie has been such an inspiring teacher and she’s given us the skills and confidence to get a running start into the industry. The Easter Show was a great learning experience and Bonnie prepared us well.”

Man with dog

Ben Ewings placed third in the ‘Novice Salon Freestyle’ and ‘Novice Poodle’ categories. Photo: Supplied.

TAFE NSW Yallah graduate, 20-year-old Ben Ewings of Sussex Inlet, runs his own mobile grooming business, Coastal Pooches and also placed highly at the show, finishing third in the Novice Salon Freestyle and Novice Poodle categories.

Ben’s special education teacher at Ulladulla High School encouraged him to follow his passion and complete his Certificate II in Animal Studies – and he is thriving.

READ ALSO University of Wollongong art treasures head to Sutherland

Bonnie said the show provided a valuable networking opportunity for graduates. She said a Certificate III in Pet Grooming would commence in July at TAFE NSW Yallah and described now as the “perfect time” to be entering the industry.

“The industry is booming and there literally are not enough pet groomers in the Illawarra to keep up with demand,” she said. “As soon as you get that certificate, you can open your own salon or mobile grooming business, or work for a salon,” she added.

“There’s so much flexibility in your own grooming business and you can work at your own pace.

“If you love animals, you can’t get a better career.”

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.