Scottish pensioner shows you're never too old to retrain

Pensioner James Cleland has enrolled to retrain as a barber at the Sovereign Grooming Academy in Glasgow at the age of 66.

James, from Uddingston in South Lanarkshire, has held previous careers as an estate agent, DJ, dancer in Benidorm and pub and café owner, and now dreams of setting up his own mobile barbershop. He is investing up to £35,000 in a custom-built van which will be fully accessible to disabled people, and plans to visit retirement homes and elderly care facilities, as well as gyms and offices across South Lanarkshire.

He will train under Sovereign Grooming's Kyle Ross on an intensive course that equips students with the qualifications they need to become a barber in just 15-weeks.

Commenting on his new career choice, James says:

“Some people will wonder why I'm starting out on a new career at 66 but I like to keep busy and I'm definitely not ready to retire. I might be a pensioner but I can't sit in the house, it's just not me. You only have one life – live it.

“I had a two-year spell as a barber when I was in my 20s and it has always been a goal of mine to return to the industry. I've been putting it off for a while but it's finally time to take the plunge and follow my dream.

“I barbered 40 years ago and have done a bit of hairdressing in my time. More recently I did a stint in a homeless unit cutting hair for free to get some experience – but now I am getting familiar with ‘long cuts' and fades and I can't wait to get started properly.”

Kyle Ross, founder of Sovereign Grooming Academy, adds: 

“We're absolutely delighted to have James as a mature student at the Sovereign Grooming Academy – it really highlights that you're never too late to chase your dreams.

“We're committed to giving our students the best possible experience and by passing down all the tips we can to James, we can hopefully help him on his journey of starting his barbering van.”

Sovereign Grooming Academy
01224 970 783