Note: these FAQs mostly relate to our NZQA-accredited Certificate course

What is SRA?

The Samala Robinson Academy (SRA) is New Zealand's leading academy of fashion makeup.  We were established in 2000 by top New Zealand makeup artist Samala Robinson.  Our goal is to train makeup artists worthy of working at the highest levels whether it be fashion, cosmetic companies, retail, freelance, special events or film and television.  SRA's vision is to take the mystery out of makeup and to produce world-class artists who are capable of creating beauty.

What makes SRA unique?

SRA is one of New Zealand's very few schools of fashion makeup that is NZQA accredited, which means you are a recognised qualified makeup artist on successfully completing the course.  Our tutors are not only praticing freelance makeup artists (which means what they teach is current and up to date), but they are also trained and NZQA-accredited in adult training. This means our teaching is optimised for different learning styles. We are known for creating confident and professional makeup artists with the highest standards, ready for careers in the fashion, beauty, film and television industries.  We train tomorrow's makeup artists, foster their creativity and help them to become masters of their craft at a professional, international standard.

What courses does SRA offer?

Our main course is the Certificate in Fashion Makeup, offered in both a full-time and part-time version.  This course is designed for people who want to build a career as a professional makeup artist.  The course will teach you the latest skills and techniques to start work in the makeup industry. The course is NZQA-accredited, which means it is an industry-recognised qualification. Diplomas or certificates from other makeup schools may not be. Also, because the course is approved by TEC and NZQA, most students wishing to take it will be eligible for a student loan to cover the cost of the course. Alternatively, many students may be eligible for the new government 'Fees Free' scheme where the tuition cost of our couse may be fully covered. Refer to the website www.feesfree.govt.nz to see if you are eligible.

In addition various short courses and workshops are held at SRA. These include an Extensive Introduction to Professional Makeup Artistry [evenings, over 10 weeks], and our School Holidays programmes.

What kind of job can I get after this course?

Fashion makeup is a stimulating and creative career with a lot variety, and the chance to freelance, run your own business or work for a major cosmetics brand.  We've had graduates who started on cosmetics counters in department stores and within a few years became managers and then creative directors in TV and film.  Some have even become makeup artists to celebrities, models, actors and singers.

What are the chances of getting a job after the course?

Our course has a very strong focus on ensuring our graduates get work after they finish.  Nearly 80% of our 2015 graduates are working in the fashion, makeup or releated industries, while 7% have gone on to further studies, and a further 13% are employed in other areas, often using skills such as customer service which they learnt as part of their SRA Certificate. Only 1% are unemployed.

Can SRA help me find a job?

SRA has strong relationships with leading cosmetic brands like Darphin Paris, Thin Lizzy, Bobbi Brown, L'Oréal Paris and MAC many of whom employ makeup artists to demo their products at leading department stores and beauty spas. Our tutors are well networked in the industry and often know of upcoming job postions. They are usually pleased to act as a reference for ex-students. Other major employers regularly contact SRA when they are planning an intake of new employees.

Do I have to be very creative to be a makeup artist?

We love creativity, but alone it is of limited value to a makeup artist without good technique.  We teach techniques that can help you uncover and confidently express your creativity.  The SRA training team works hard to help inspire the creativity of our students. We love seeing students discover how creative they can be.

However, even creativity and good technique must be supplemented with good people skills and a professional attitude if a makeup artist is to be popular and successful. We emphasise the importance of these 'soft skills' in additonal to the technical skills and the fostering of creativity.

Can I study full-time or part-time?

You can study for the SRA Certificate in Fashion Makeup either full-time or part-time.  The full-time programme is a 17 week course.  The part-time programme runs over 40 weeks.  Full-time students attend class four hours a day, 5 days a week (ie 20 hours a week) and are expected to do a further 10 hours of self-directed study per week, as well as having opportunities during the course of their studies to gain valuable work experience (eg photo shoots, or various shows and events). Part-time students attend class for three hours two evenings per week (Mondays and Wednesdays) plus (usually) every third Sauturday, seven hours. Thus the total amount of taught hours is virtually identical between the full-time and part-time versions of the course.

What qualification do I get?

A Level 3 Certificate in Fashion Makeup.  Students are assessed against New Zealand National Qualifications (NZQA) unit standards and provider standards for makeup.  There is a formal assessment which determines the certificate pass level. The SRA Certificate in Fashion Makeup is well recognised and well regarded in the industry.

What will I learn in the course?

Our Certificate in Fashion Makeup has been designed by top industry professionals with leading specialists in fashion, film and television production.  You will learn fashion makeup and personal development skills that will prepare you for a job in the fashion, beauty, film and television industries.

The skills and techniques you will learn include:

  •  Character makeup
  •  Fashion makeup
  •  Special effects makeup
  •  Costume & makeup throughout history
  •  Customer service and foundational retail training
  •  Skincare

You will also learn to create the latest fashion and special effects looks, such as:

  •  Sugar skulls
  •  Zombies
  •  Living doll
  •  Masquerade

We adjust our teaching and learning methods as much as possible to suit the different learning styles of our students. Also, since we work within a constantly evolving industry, our teaching methodology and materials are similarly constantly evolving to remain current and relevant. 

Is the course NZQA approved?

Yes. SRA is a Private Training Establishment (PTE) that is fully registered and accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The current course is NZQA approved.

When does the course start?

Our courses start at different times of the year.  We offer eight full-time and three or four part-time courses each year. This means that there is usually a new Full-Time course starting every six weeks, and a new part-time class starting approximately every 13 weeks. Check the website for upcoming class dates.

What do I need to get into the course?

You must be at least 16 years of age.  You must also have a satisfactory level of written and spoken English skills.  A minimum of Level 1 for domestic students and 5 ELTS for international students. You must also have no major physical disabilities (such as neck or back injuries), which would adversely affect your chances of achieving the outcomes of the unit standards. 

How do I apply?

You can apply for the course by filling out an online application form here and sending it to SRA. Or you can even book a free tour of SRA online right now

We will then contact you to arrange a time to tour SRA. 

How long does the course take?

The Certificate in Fashion Makeup is offered as a 17 week full-time programme or a 40 week part-time programme. 

How much does the course cost?

The course fee for 2018 for the Certificate in Fashion Makeup is $8,048 (including GST).  This covers primarily tuition. There are in addition Compulsory Course-Related costs of $850 to cover all the various materials used in the course (for example, a well-equipped classroom kit of cosmetics resources controlled by the tutor, daily consumables, Special Effects materials, as well as an individual basic Starter Kit which students get to keep). In addition there is non-refundable admin & registration fee of $150. We explain everything you need to know about our fees and payment arrangements in your interview. 

Can I get a student loan?

Because SRA is NZQA-accredited, and because our Certificate in Fashion Makeup is NZQA-approved, yes, in the majority of cases student loans are available for our course. To find out more information about how to get a student loan and check your eligibility  visit: www.studylink.govt.nz

However, early in 2018 the government introduced a new 'Fees Free' scheme for tertiary education courses. You may be eligible for Fees Free. Because SRA is fully registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and this course is approved by NZQA and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) you may qualify to have your 2018 fees paid for by the government under the new Fees Free scheme. Refer to the website www.feesfree.govt.nz to see if you are eligible. Alternatively, most students wishing to take this course should be eligible for an interest-free loan from Studylink (www.studylink.govt.nz). Even if you are eligible for the Fees Free scheme, currently you will probably still need to get a loan from Studylink for your Compulsory Course-Related costs, admin fee or if you are going to claim living costs.

Can I get a refund if I stop the course?

Students who withdraw from the course before 10% of the course has elapsed after their start date will get a refund of all fees minus $500 to cover administration costs. For example the full-time course has 85 taught days, so a student attending the full-time course and wishing to withdraw may withdraw and get a refund up to the beginning of the 9th day.

Is my student fee protected?

Yes. The New Zealand Government requires all Private Training Establishments registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to protect all student fees paid to them in advance. SRA operates a trust account to ensure that all fees are protected. We have appointed the Public Trust to manage this trust account and use their Fee Protect service. Public Trust is a government-owned Trustee Company that has been in existence for over 130 years and all fees deposited with Public Trust have an unsecured capital guarantee from the New Zealand Government. The way this works is that your fees are deposited into a trust account at Public Trust and are paid to us over the duration of your study in accordance with an agreed payment schedule. This ensures that sufficient money is available at any time to refund the unused protion of student fees in the unlikely event that we are unable to complete the delivery of your course.

For more information visit Public Trust's website at www.ptnz.co.nz or cotact the Public Trust on freephone 0800 494 733.

What cosmetics do we use in the course?

Since our aim is to develop students to be ready to take their place in the industry, our tutors expose students to a wide range of professional and high-end consumer products and brands. A wide variety of classroom resources and products are provided, distributed and made available at tutors' discretion. In addition to consumables/disposables and Special Effects materials they include a very well stocked 'classroom/tutors' kit which contains a full range of cosmetics which allow for advanced techniques or which cover unusual circumstances. In additon to this, each student is provided with their own individual basic Starter Kit of cosmetics comprised of industry-standard makeup products sufficient to allow a student to pass the course assessments. The cost of all these products (both classroom and individual) are covered by a compulsory purchase of $850 , in the majority of cases funded by a Course Related Costs loan from Study Link. The basic Starter Kit though relatively modest compared to the classroom kit administered by the tutors, does include a range of products from leading brands such as M.A.C., Maybelline, Thin Lizzy, Rimmel, etc. In addition we have our own proprietary brand of professional cosmetics, Samala Cosmetics, whose products comprise a little under half of the Starter Kit. Samala Cosmetics are mostly manufactured in USA and have been used and endorsed by several top international makeup artists. Not only can SRA students purchase Samala Cosmetics products at heavily discounted prices, but our ever-expanding network of business partnerships with major cosmetics and hairstyling brands often allows our students to access these high profile industry standard products at a discount. 

The Starter Kit, backed up occasionally or as required by the tutors/classroom kit, is designed to support student learning, and ensures consistency and equity for all students, and importantly ensures that each student has all the industry-standard tools necessary to successfully complete all mandatory assignments & assessments within the course. In addition to the tutor/classroom kit in the Beauty and Fashion parts of the course, in the Performance (SFX) part of the course Special Effects makeup is provided as an additional class resource further supplementing the basic Starter Kit.

The Starter Kit (and indeed all the supporting classroom marterials) provided to students is constantly evolving in line with changing fashions and trends in the industry, and as new products become available. The emphaisis of the Academy is on learning, knowledge and technique - a focus on product is secondary.

Do I have to pay for my own cosmetics while doing the course?

In order for students to be guaranteed of having the right tools to complete all parts of the course and all assignments/assessments, we provide many in-class resources & materials designed to support students in passing the course, so that between the various materials provided, students have access to materials sufficient to achieve all assignments. These resources include such things as materials for the Special Effects classes, consumables/disposables for all classes, and a very well stocked tutors/class kit of cosmetics containing a wide range of products which at the tutors' discretion allows students to experiment with certain advanced techniques. In addition to this each student is provided with their own basic individual Starter Kit near the outset of the course. This kit, although relatively modest, is designed to be sufficient in the majority of cases to allow students to complete all assignments. Students have passed the course with Excellence using nothing but their basic Starter Kit. This kit and all the supporting classroom materials are funded via a 'Compulsory Course Related Costs' purchase of $850 (as without funding these materials, it would be impossible to complete the highly practical and hands-on course). In the majority of cases, students will be able to obtain a loan of up to $1000 from Study Link specifically to cover Course Related Costs such as the kit and supporting classroom materials (this amount is tacked on to the normal student loan that typically pays for tuition costs). The ability of most students to access this loan is possible because SRA is NZQA-accredited. Access to these funds is not possible for students attending other non-accredited schools.

The individual basic Starter Kit contains a variety of products and includes some mainstream brands such as M.A.C. and Thin Lizzy, so that students are exposed to a variety of brands. Students can not only purchase our own proprietary brand of professional cosmetics – Samala Cosmetics – at heavily discounted prices (plus weekly in-school special sales at virtually giveaway prices!), but they also receive a M.A.C. Pro Student card enabling them to buy M.A.C. products at a discount. We have similar arrangements with some other manufacturers to benefit our students.

As a professional makeup artist it's important to keep up to date with fashion trends, therefore buying makeup as you go is important for you, your creativity and career. You will gradually build up your own makeup kit to allow you to work as a makeup artist in a wide variety of circumstances and with a wide variety of client types. However, the materials purchased by the Course Related Costs fee ($850) - whether in the individual Starter Kit or whether as class resources - will together be guaranteed sufficient to allow students to pass all modules of the course.

Where is the academy?

The academy is situated in the heart of New Zealand's fashion capital Newmarket, Auckland. It's at: Level 1, 3 Melrose St, Newmarket, Auckland. Good public transport links are clsoe by.