Looking at Apprenticeships?
The UK Hair and Beauty Industry is colossal …
There are currently more than 245,000 people working within some 55,000 Hair, Beauty, Nail,
Barber and Spa businesses across the country.
Hair and Beauty Apprenticeships
Since 2013, the government have worked with a number of employers, the Skills Active (the Sector Skills Council for the industry and issuing authority for Apprenticiship Frameworks) and Habia (‘Hair and Beauty Industry Authority’, the ‘standard setting’ authority) to improve Apprenticeships, ensuring they are much more rigorous and responsive to the needs of the industry. Including putting employers in the ‘driving seat’ to ensure Apprenticeships are more relevant and therefore more attractive to existing and new employers.
Apprenticeships not only provide employers with a cost effective way to hire new staff, but show their staff they have a commitment to training and development.
Are you ready to start an Apprenticeship?
Having worked in Hair and Beauty Apprenticeships for a number of years, I’m a huge advocate They are, in my opinion, fantastic opportunities for both training and employment.
An Apprenticeship is a nationally recognised framework …. think of this ‘framework’ as an umbrella….
Underneath this rather large umbrella are the following components that you will work towards achieving during your time on the Apprenticeship:
- NVQ at either L2 (Intermediate level) or L3 (advanced Apprenticeship)
- ERR (employee rights and responsibilities) where you will look into Employment Law and legislations, Health & Safety, Acts including Equality and Diversity, Disability Discrimination and codes of practice etc
- PLTS (Personal learning and thinking skills) and functional skills
- Maths and English – all very relevant to the hair and beauty industry
Apprenticeships can take between 1 – 3 years to complete, depending on the type and level. They are delivered on a what is called a ‘rolling basis’, so you can start an Apprenticeship at any time during the academic year.
Apprentices are ‘employed’ and will generally work a minimum of 30 hours per week with holiday entitlement and benefits equal to most other permanent staff members.
You enrol onto the Apprenticeship of your choosing, pretty much the same as you would any other course at college.
If you choose to do an Apprenticeship with a local college training provider, you’ll be:
- Working towards a nationally recognised industry qualification
- Gaining the most relevant, up to date technical knowledge and practical development
- Being employed with a contract of employment, working alongside salon professionals, gaining valuable ‘hands-on’ experience and linking theory to practice
- Earning whilst you learn, including holiday pay entitlement
- Regular, well structured review and assessment of your progress
- Support from the training provider every step of the way
- Getting together with Apprentices from other salons at college (usually one day per week)
- Gaining a nationally recognised Apprenticeship framework certificate; that not only encompasses your NVQ award, but other criteria you will have achieved alongside your NVQ qualification too
- Great progression routes, should you wish to further develop your training and career potential
In days of old, Apprenticeships were, on occasion, labelled with negative stereotyping including; ‘poor wages’, ’making tea and coffee all day’, ‘endless cleaning’ and ‘running to the butty shop for everyone’s lunch’ (we’ll overlook that one – stylists and beauty therapists ‘don’t stop for lunch’ 😉 ?!
……Ok, you’ll naturally expect a fair share of ‘menial tasks’, to start with. No self respecting
manager, who has invested their time and energy into building a successful business, is going to let you loose with a blow dry brush (let alone a pair of scissors) on week 2?!
But the majority of them will have started the very same way as you – with similar ideas and goals. They too, will have worked their way from the sweeping and ‘cuppa’ making to stylist, therapist, style director, salon manager and more
So – you’re thinking of starting in an Apprenticeship in either Hair, Beauty Therapy, Barbering or Nail services? – that’s really good! Read on…
The hair and beauty industry, like many others, relies on repeat clientele.
Whilst there are very few entry requirements for an Apprenticeship in hair or beauty, there are things a training provider will consider before you start….
Think about your personality and your character – are you:
- Well presented with good personal hygiene (sounds obvious, but you would be surprised!)
- Practical, organised with good social skills
- Good sense of humour, easy going nature, with good communication skills whether it be on the phone or face to face
- Willing to work flexible hours (Under 18’s can not work more than 8 hours per day and not more than 40 hours per week) Saturday working is almost certainly a requirement too – with a day off in lieu the same week
- High degree of coordination and good at working with your hands
To get things started, you will need to complete an application form – follow the directions to access these via your chosen training provider’s website. Or call your nearest training provider and ask to speak to their Apprenticeship department.
You’ll speak to someone who is used to dealing with your enquiry daily – don’t feel worried about asking the wrong questions – there are none!
Upon receiving your completed application, the training provider will generally invite you for an interview and initial assessment. This may be your first ever real life interview …. and the interviewer will be well aware of this, taking your nerves into consideration
Points to consider prior to interview:
- Your reasons for wanting to do an Apprenticeship? (“My boyfriend is doing the Engineering course at this college…” is not what they want to hear?)
- Skills and experience you already have? You may think doing your school work experience in a charity shop is not relevant to Hair or Beauty – Look at the transferable skills you achieved from this – Customer service? Keeping the shelves presentable and eye-catching?…. there you go
- Any part time work you currently have. Will this clash with your Apprenticeship? Could you reduce your hours significantly or leave?
- Long term goals – everyone has an idea of where they’d like to be a year down the line.. or 5 years. Don’t be afraid to say where you see yourself, it says a lot about you!
- The support from family and friends – One thing you need in abundance are ‘guinea pigs’ – long and short haired varieties too 😉 (Although – if you’re short of models to do your practical training and assessments on, you’ll need to be confident in persuading random students in the college canteen to come and have their hair done with you!)
- Your hobbies and interests and what motivates you – things that keep you going forward and put a smile on your face
The next hurdle:
You are ‘one of many’ looking for that one salon to see your burning potential! It’s important to keep positive and keep going at this stage. It can be really disconcerting when you have left CV’s and your cover letter at countless salons and not had one response. Salon managers may not be looking for a junior or Apprentice at that time. People in the very same position as you, will be handing out their CV’s too. Making a good first impression is so important – but not difficult
When an employer invites you in for interview:
Employers will interview you before deciding to offer you a position. This not only enables them to make sure you are the right kind of Apprentice for their particular salon team, but also gives you chance to check out the employer and staff too! Not to mention giving you valuable interview experience
Small obvious things to mention are:
- Don’t take your mum/dad/gran/best mate with you! And put your phone on silent – at the bottom of your bag?
- Wear something ‘salon appropriate’. Usually smart casual. Black trousers or black skirt and black tights etc are a good look with a plain top. You want to them to think ‘you look the part’ straight away, so this clothing choice is a good 1st impression ….. in my opinion!
- Smile! No one warms to a grumpy stylist/therapist – get into the habit of leaving your troubles at the door and putting your best face forward.
Keep the training provider/college informed
If you have attended an interview – keep your training provider contact up to date too. They may not be aware you have been selected for interview and will want to know how you are progressing. They may even be able to speak to the salon manager about their interview with you, passing on any positive thoughts, which could be the difference between you being offered the Apprenticeship or not
Don’t just take my word for it…
Read recently qualified L3 Advanced Apprentice …. Christie’s story here
Just to say: This information is in my own words and based on my own experiences and understanding of Apprenticeships at this time – for more accurate information and guidance, please refer to the individual training provider or government/sector skills council websites. Thank you