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Hair@theAcademy announces 20-year-old tutor, Tyler Gray has been awarded the academy’s first-ever ‘Ambassador of Excellence’ accolade in recognition of his outstanding achievements and as an inspiration to help students achieve their goals.

Founded by Mary Pugsley MBE IN 2014, Hair@theAcademy is a unique training programme delivering hairdressing, barbering, customer service, Math’s & English, supporting vulnerable young adults in and around Exeter towards completion of work-ready qualifications.

Suffering from anxiety and mental health issues, Tyler was enrolled at Hair@theAcademy on a Level 2 award in the hair and beauty sector aged just 15 and has never left! Through 1:1 training, care and support from Mary and her team, Tyler now a fully qualified tutor teaches and mentors the most vulnerable young people in greater Exeter to learn a new trade and is a shining example to the students to strive to be the best they can be.

Mary Pugsley MBE, Director – Hair@theAcademy said: “Constant bullying at school by peers because he was different and misunderstood left Tyler with a complete lack of confidence. Feeling depressed and lonely due to his severe mental health conditions, he struggled to attend a mainstream school. He was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and recommended to the academy, where we helped him to develop and flourish.” She adds: “Today Tyler’s a full-time teacher in the salon and a wonderful mentor to other young people. His dedication and outstanding accomplishments to turn his life around has made us all so very proud of him. He’s a perfect role model for our students and really deserves this award.”

Tyler Gray said: “Mary and her fantastic team never gave up on me. When I completed my course and gained my education and training qualification, I continued at the salon as a mentor and love helping people just like me. It also improved my own mental health as I finally had a purpose which makes me feel happy.” He adds: “I’m now supporting a wide range of different learners; helping them through their own incredible journey really makes my day and I’m very excited to have just begun my assessor’s qualification in our fabulous new salon. I am now very much part of the team who have not only made me feel welcomed and supported over the last five years, but also helped me with every aspect of my life, giving me something positive to concentrate on. I can’t thank Hair@theAcademy enough for making my life better and for this honour, it means so much to me and I hope it motivates others to achieve their dreams.”