Learning that Fits In with Life at Demi International

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When the personal services industry needs job-ready, confident graduates they turn to a powerhouse training provider that started on the Sunshine Coast. Carlie Wacker learns why Demi International is leading the way in learning. 

It’s a name we know and trust on the Sunshine Coast – Demi International has been nurturing creative students for decades and are trusted by industry professionals to provide skilled and knowledgeable graduates. 

Under the guidance of inspiring CEO Ann Donnarumma, the business has seen exponential growth in recent years expanding from four campuses 18 months ago to six with an interstate campus to launch very soon. 

Marketing Manager Lauren Streng is quick to point out that their leader has inspired a team that are all clearly proud to represent Demi International so it’s no surprise the business is growing. 

“Ann is a driven go-getter and as a team, we are all passionate about the fact that most of our staff and students are mums – many having a change of career or returning to the workforce,” she said. 

It’s clear to me that this female-led and supported company have built a culture of nurturing and empowerment that trickles from the top down. 

It’s so cool to see how Ann has built an army of ambassadors that love their job and, even more so, care deeply for their students – the environment is powerful and the outcome is one very successful training organisation. 

The winner at the end of the day is the personal services industry who place the skilled, competent and confident graduates in their businesses. 

More than 700 students are enrolled across the campuses in Maroochydore, Cairns, Toowooomba, Chermside, Ipswich and Gold Coast. In September, Demi International will expand into New South Wales, opening just south of Sydney in Miranda

That’s a steady flow of hairdressers, barbers, beauty and massage therapists, makeup and nail artists about to enter their chosen industry. What is extra exciting is that this powerhouse training organisation grew from humble beginnings here on the Sunshine Coast.

Lauren says the success of the organisation and its students is based on a model of ‘learning that fits with life’. 

“We understand that our students are trying to balance life, kids and paying the bills with learning, so we provide hands-on training but also support them through their journey,” Lauren says. 

“Demi is a student-driven environment; we have high expectations in terms of attendance rates and we pride ourselves on pricing transparency. Part of that is upholding our values, to be Australia’s best value-for-money, trusted education provider. 

“We don’t believe in taking a student’s money and letting them walk away from their qualification – the operations team goes the extra mile to support a student through to completion.  

“In order for students to get the training and be industry-ready, they need to be in the classes and our team support them to ensure they stay on track to reach their goals. We work closely with them to create accountability.”

I love that – we all need someone to keep us on track and provide that little kick in the bum when we need it. 

Even the way that the course is structured is with real life in mind. 

Students attend classes one or two days per week per qualification and they follow the Queensland school term which allows parents to be with their children during the holidays to minimise disruption at home and while studying. 

The training organisation caters to all ages with students as young as 15 starting school-based training one day per week. A recent graduate was a 52-year-old man who wanted a career change and is now a fully qualified and employed barber on the Sunshine Coast. 

The Demi International community also includes international students, through sister provider ICQ (International College of Queensland), and such is the love of the Demi family that many students still come back to see the team long after leaving. 

Courses cover all real-life situations students will find themselves in – from the practical skills they are training for; to retail, social media, online booking management and customer care. 

Demi International teachers are industry professionals that either own a business or work in the industry; and the training salons are fully functional meaning we can book in for a treatment or service from a student at up to 80% less than at a normal salon or studio. 

Demi International graduates are highly regarded with local businesses constantly seeking students to employ, sometimes before they graduate; and the jobs board is always full of opportunities. 

From CEO to student, this business is a powerhouse of passionate people. Hats off to the Demi International team for nurturing a community that fits learning in with real life. 


Demi International offer four intakes per year following the Qld school term schedule. www.demiinternational.edu.au

About the Author /

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Carlie Wacker has worked in the media entertainment industry for over 20 years. From television to stage and radio she has been lucky enough to work her way around the whole country. Over the last 10 years she has styled and choreographed innovative fashion parades and talent shows and brings her love for fashion and entertainment as our Fashion Editor. She is also an MC, voice-over artist and radio announcer.

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