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  • Bella marie training academy at Sunderland
    Bella marie training academy at Sunderland . Opening day


Meet the Team


Amy McKenna – Centre Manager and Director

Amy is the centre manager for Seaham and Sunderland Academies. Amy previously had a career in the NHS managing health improvement projects and coordinating a range of services.  Amy has brought those skills to the Academy spending a lot of her working time coordinating the delivery programme of courses and mapping out the plans for the year. Amy also has a career in makeup and product distribution.

Amy loves to travel and visit new places, she loves any new adventures. Amy also loves fitness so will go to the gym at least five times a week, so if you don’t see her at an Academy she’s probably in the gym!


Gemma Lowery – Director

Gemma’s lived a tragedy that many would never wish to; after losing her son Bradley to Neuroblastoma cancer, Gemma now strives to make Bradley proud every single day. Not only is Gemma owner and Director of the Academy and spends a lot of time working behind the scenes, she is also the Chief Executive Officer for the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Gemma loves spending her free time with her husband Carl, and making good use of their hot tub!


Hayley Forster – Administrator and Training Support

Hayley is our newest member of the team and joined us in March during lockdown! Hayley has 6 years of Administration and Accounts experience after having to leave her career in Nursing behind following a back injury in 2014.

In her spare time Hayley enjoys going to the gym, spending her time with friends and family and walking her rescue dog, Rick the Doberman.

Laura Piercy – Lead Tutor for Commercial Courses

Laura was our first tutor, who embarked with us on this journey and left a long-standing career to support us in making the academy a huge success.  Laura has XX year’s experience in the beauty industry, with xx of those years teaching in a further education college.  Laura was the programme lead for VTCT level 2 Beauty and Nails in her previous role at the college; therefore, she brings a huge range of experience and knowledge to the Academy.

You will mostly find Laura delivering our commercial short courses; she loves to teach all facial related treatments, as well as nails and waxing.

In Laura’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her two children and working out at the gym.


Natalie Evans – Hairdressing Tutor

Our Welsh tutor of the team, Natalie has over 23 year’s experience in hairdressing and over four year’s experience in teaching.  Natalie also has experience in owning her own salon from her time back in Wales.

Natalie currently works in a salon as well as teaching, as she feels it’s so valuable to keep hands on in the industry.


Viki O’Neill – Skincare and Facial Tutor

Viki is from a nursing background and has over 23 year’s experience; Viki is also qualified in health visiting. Viki has been teaching in the NHS since 2008 and recently turned her hand to beauty training having qualified in aesthetics over three years ago.

Viki works long hours, still in the nursing industry, but also running her own skincare clinics in a salon.


Kaye Kennedy – Beauty and Nail Technician Tutor

Kaye offers over 14 year’s experience in the beauty industry, during which time she’s built an incredible nail business, with over 3500 social media followers! Kaye has experience of teaching in Comprehensive Schools as well as private academies.

Kaye teaches our VTCT Level 1 and Level 2 Beauty courses, as well as our private short courses, particularly those related to nails.

Kaye’s laid back approach makes her adaptable to any working environment and makes her extremely approachable! Kaye still runs her own nail business, as well as teaching at the academy, so in her spare time she enjoys to socialise with her friends.


Shannon StrongBarbering and Male Grooming Tutor

Shannon is our barbering tutor; she offers over nine year’s experience in the barbering industry, with over four years teaching and assessing.  Shannon also works in colleges teaching and assessing barbering.

Shannon changes her hair colour weekly, so the colour it is in this photo, it’s likely it won’t be the same now!

Christie Galloway – Makeup Artistry Tutor

Christie started in Beauty and Make up at 17 working on makeup counters for Mac and Bobbi brown whilst working around college studying hairdressing, level 3 beauty and fashion makeup up. At 21 Christie worked on board cruise ships and was a beauty therapist for 2 years. When she came back Christie worked for a therapist for a while until she was asked to return to manage the Bobbi brown studio. Christie had the opportunity to meet Bobbi brown herself in London and worked many events as an artist. This was when Christie decided to get her teaching qualification and has been teaching makeup and beauty for 6 years. During this time Christie got into plus size modelling and advertised for big brands such as Debenhams, asos, new look, York, and eBay! When retiring from modelling after having her son, Christie focused on her freelance makeup artistry career and teaching makeup to new artists.

Bella Marie Training Academy have a highly skilled team of tutors on hand to support you, you'll get immediate access to their experience, skills and industry knowledge once you enrol on any of our courses.
Meet The Team Short Courses VTCT Qualifications

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