He goes by the nickname Second, but Seng Lam Liau is a winner.
The South Metropolitan TAFE beauty therapy graduate, from Malaysia, is making his mark in a female-dominated industry.
Second enrolled as an international student at South Metropolitan TAFE to gain an industry-recognised qualification with both theory and practical components.
"In Malaysia, many programs focus on the practical side of the business but there is no balance with theory and knowledge," he said.
"At South Metropolitan TAFE I got the balanced training program and could also study the whole pathway from certificate level through to diploma."
The beauty therapy course gave Second opportunities to participate in fashion shows and events that honed his practical skills outside the classroom.
Second, whose nickname came from being the second-born child in his family, is also the second international student from South Metropolitan TAFE that his employer, Cleopatra's Temple Spa and Beauty Centre in South Lakes, has hired.
"I met Second during a one-week industry work placement that formed part of his diploma," said Cleopatra’s Claudia Mazzone.
"His attitude is great. To work in this industry, you need to be friendly and want to connect with your clients".
Although a male beauty therapist was unusual in the industry, Claudia said Second was very popular with her clients and was a real benefit to the business.
"I’m happy to find good employees and that’s why we have sponsored Second to continue working with us," she said.
Second said the benefits of being an international student far outweighed any language and culture obstacles.
"When I came to Australia I was on my own but I chose to live with Australian housemates so I would have to speak English," he said.
"Now I really like to share my own culture and talk to my clients about that and to listen to them talk about their backgrounds too.
"I’m really happy to be working and learning every day and one day it would be great to have my own salon but for now I’m just learning so much."