A KEY focus of the University of Bolton is working to ensure that students are ready to move into the world of work and understand what skills and attitude are needed to be a success after they have graduated.

To give students the best insight into the industry, the university has this year employed ‘Associate Industry Teaching Fellows’, with a background in working in the special effects business.

They are now bringing their expertise and knowledge of working in the industry to the courses and students.

Colette Fishlock is a specialist hair and wig maker who was London-based and worked at the Royal Opera House and theatres in the West End.

She most recently worked for Madame Tussauds waxworks and it was her job to put the hair on the models – the element that really brings them to life.

She has provided hair for models including Brazilian footballer Neymar and F1 racing star Lewis Hamilton.

Colette said: “There are lots of different departments there and we would get the wax head and then punch in the individual hairs and then colour them to make sure they were as authentic as possible.

“It is a long process. We meet the celebrity to be modelled, take thousands of photos and then agree on the right style through negotiation.

“A full head of hair takes about four weeks to do and then longer if there is a beard. Then there are the eyebrows where the hairs are punched in one by one and measured to the exact millimetre.

“When I was working on Neymar we flew to Barcelona to meet him. He was a lovely guy, but as we were working on the model he kept getting more tattoos, so we had to keep changing the waxwork!”

Colette said she was able to help write the wig-making and hair module of the course, which meant students are learning the latest techniques, which are constantly being updated.

“I think that my background knowledge and understanding of the industry is important.

“I can help students understand what that world is like – how to work as a bigger team and learn about pressure.

“It’s all about giving students as many options as possible. If they can do makeup prosthetics and hair they are more employable – the more skills you have the better.”

Paul Jamieson is the other ‘Associate Industry Teaching Fellow’ employed this year. His expertise is in creating and applying special makeup effects – silicon or foam rubber pieces designed to create new characters or gory effects.

He has worked with special makeup effects master Neill Gorton, who is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Bolton, to provide prosthetics on an episode of Doctor Who entitled A Town Called Mercy, which featured a cyborg gunslinger.

Paul has also worked on TV programmes such as In The Flesh, Peaky Blinders and Foyle’s War.

Paul said: “Growing up in the eighties I was really into prosthetics but there wasn’t much information about how to do that stuff or where to learn it, so I was basically self -taught.

“I started making prosthetics and then got into mechanical engineering and the two go well together.

“Neill Gorton saw my work and asked if I could help with some sculpting on the Doctor Who episode and as it turned out I created a gun and the cyborg eye for that.

“Since then I have worked closely with Davy Jones, who is an Emmy-winning special effects artist based in Liverpool.”

Paul added: “I had done some teaching at the University of Bolton and then I was offered this position and am really enjoying it.

“It is very rewarding to see students learn and develop. Having a good understanding of the industry makes a huge difference.

“My job is to teach students that their job is really to encounter a problem and then find a solution. It is fantastic thing to be doing.”