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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?

We offer two main courses: the first leads to the NZ Certificate in Fashion Makeup, Level 3, and the second leads to the Advanced Fashion & Creative Media Makeup, Level 4.

The first is a great way to jump start your career in the beauty industry. In just 17 weeks you will the learn foundational makeup skills that will allow you to start work in the industry, or it can form the base for you to progress on later to our Level 4 makeup artistry course, a 36 weeks, in-depth course which covers every aspect of makeup plus ancillary skills such as hair, nails, lash & brow tinting as well as giving you the business- and life-skills which will equip you either to start your own business or to be snapped up as a highly valued employee.

These courses are NZQA accredited and are industry-designed and industry-recognised. Diplomas or certificates from other makeup schools may not be. Also, because these courses are approved by NZQA and TEC most students wishing to take them should be eligible for an interest-free student loan to cover the cost of the course. Alternatively, many students may be eligible for the new government ‘Fees Free’ scheme which may cover some or all of the tuition cost of these courses. Refer to the website 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, and our School Holidays programmes.

What kind of job can I get after these courses?

A career in makeup can be stimulating and creative with a lot of 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 a course at SRA?

Our courses have a very strong focus on ensuring our graduates get work after they finish. In our most recent survey of graduates, we found that nearly 80% were working in the fashion, makeup or related industries, while 7% had gone on to further studies, and a further 13% were employed in other areas, often using skills such as customer service which they learnt as part of their SRA Certificate. Only 1% was unemployed. The new New Zealand Certificate in Makeup & Skincare is especially targeted to producing graduates who are immediately employable in makeup & skincare workplaces.

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 new course (the New Zealand Certificate in Makeup & Skincare) is especially oriented towards this type of employment. Our tutors are well networked in the industry and often know of upcoming job positions. 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 additional to the technical skills and the fostering of creativity.

Can I study full-time or part-time?

You can study the New Zealand Certificate in Fashion Makeup (Level 3) either part-time or full-time. The full-time programme is a 17-week course. The part-time course runs over 36 weeks. Full-time students attend class for four and a half hours per day, 5 days per week and are expected to do approximately 14 hours of self-directed study per week. Yes, it’s intense, but it’s designed to get you industry-ready in the shortest possible time! In addition to this, most students will be given valuable work-experience opportunities during the course. Part-time students attend class for three hours two evenings a week (Mondays & Wednesdays) plus (usually) every third Saturday for a full day. 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?

The New Zealand Certificate in Fashion Makeup (Level 3) [and/or from 2020 the New Zealand Certificate in Advanced Fashion & Creative Media Makeup (Level 4)]. In addition the Level 3 programme is based on a total of 14 unit standards in makeup and supporting subjects which are formally assessed and when successful which will be recorded on the student’s Record of Learning with NZQA.

What will I learn in the course?

You will learn makeup and personal development skills that will prepare you for a job in the industry or to start out as a freelance makeup artist. 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.

The skills and techniques you will learn in the Level 3 programme include: Fashion Natural Makeup; Skincare; Skin Analysis; Fashion Elegant; Fashion Sultry; Ball Makeup; Bridal Makeup; Indian/Eastern Bridal; Colour Correcting; Corrective Makeup; Tools & Equipment of a Makeup Artist; Basic Business Principles; Sales Techniques; Customer Service; Social Media; Basic Hairstyling plus an introduction to Avant-garde Fashion Makeup and Performance (Stage and SFX) makeup.

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. All our certificate courses are 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 SRA courses?

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 courses by filling out an online application form here and sending it to SRA. We will then contact you to arrange a time to tour SRA.

How long does a course take?

The New Zealand Certificate in Fashion Makeup (Level 3) takes 17 weeks full-time or just over 36 weeks part-time. The New Zealand Certificate in Advanced Fashion & Creative Media Makeup (Level 4) will take approximately 36 weeks full-time.

How much does a course cost?

The course fee for 2020 for the New Zealand Certificate in Fashion Makeup (Level 3) is $8,208 (including GST). This covers primarily tuition. There are in addition Compulsory Course-Related costs of $1000 to cover all the various materials used in the course (for example, a well-equipped classroom kit of cosmetics resources controlled by the tutor, skincare products, towels, Special Effects materials, as well as a generous individual Starter Kit which students get to keep). 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 courses are NZQA-approved, yes, in the majority of cases student loans are available for our courses. To find out more information about how to get a student loan and check your eligibility visit:

However, additionally 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 our courses are 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 to see if you are eligible. Alternatively, most students wishing to take our courses should be eligible for an interest-free loan from Studylink. Even if you are eligible for the Fees Free scheme, you may be able to get further support from Study Link or WINZ if you are going to claim living costs.

Can I get a refund if I stop the course?

Students who withdraw from our certificate courses before 10% of a 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 New Zealand Certificate in Fashion Makeup (Level 3) course has 70 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 8th day. This refund protocol only applies to students paying fees via a Study Link student loan or privately. Students whose fees are paid via the Fees-Free scheme do not receive a monetary refund, but their fees-free allowance is considered ‘consumed’ to the same degree as actual monetary fees would be.

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 portion 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 or contact the Public Trust on freephone 0800 494 733.

What cosmetics do we use in the courses?

Since our aim is to develop students to be ready to take their place in the industry, our tutors expose students to a range of professional and high-end consumer products and brands. A 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 range of cosmetics which allow for advanced techniques or which cover unusual circumstances. In addition 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 $1000, which may be funded either by a Course Related Costs loan from Study Link or as part of the Fees-free scheme for eligible students.

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 materials) provided to students is constantly evolving in line with changing fashions and trends in the industry, and as new products become available.  The emphasis 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 SRA courses?

In order for students to be guaranteed of having the right tools to complete all parts of our courses and all assignments/assessments, we provide many in-class resources & materials designed to support students in passing our courses, 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 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 $1000 (as without funding these materials, it would be impossible to complete the highly practical and hands-on courses). 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. Also, those eligible for the Fees-free scheme may be able to fund these Course Related Costs via that scheme.

The individual basic Starter Kit contains a variety of products , so students are exposed to a modern, international high-end consumer/professional brand.

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 ($1000) – 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 courses.

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 close by.