London academy launches drive to head off hairdressing skills shortage
Launching its “100 apprentices in 100 days campaign”, LHAA Director Trevor Luker gets to work on volunteer ‘hair model’, local businessman, Stuart Brooks, under the watchful eye of Lara Kelly, Salon Manager and Assessor at LHAA’s first training academy in Borehamwood.
It might be a glamorous industry worth billions of pounds per year to the economy but a looming shortage of hairdressers has prompted independent training provider, the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy, to launch a New Year recruitment initiative.
Aimed at enabling talented teenagers to earn while they learn, the Academy’s “100 apprentices in 100 days” campaign seeks to attract creative and entrepreneurial young people aged 16-23, who want to start a vocational career as an alternative to university or college study. Vacancies for more than 50 apprentices to join salons across the area are already up for grabs, as business owners looking to expand struggle to find trainees.
According to Trevor Luker, Co-founder and Director of LHAA, which manages apprenticeships for more than 350 salons across the capital, Hertfordshire and Essex, a national qualification remains the best passport for entry into the sector:
“An apprenticeship is the hairdressing industry’s preferred first step on the career ladder and apprentices can expect to earn far more than their contemporaries in other industries, once customer tips are added to wages. There’s more to it than hair styling skills, as salon owners need dynamic and enthusiastic young people who can communicate well.”
“The number of salons and barber shops is at risk of declining if the talent pool isn’t replenished. The hairdressing industry employs over 1% of the total UK workforce and is respected internationally as the world’s best but to maintain this status, it needs new recruits. Our campaign showcases hairdressing as a career with exceptional opportunities.”
Statistics from the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia) show that there are over 35,000 hair salons in the UK, employing over 200,000 people with 25% of those working in salons in London and the South East. Over 150 new salons opened in the last 18 months, with a key surge in retro fashion requiring expertise in crafting vintage cuts from the 1920s and 1950s.
To help boost uptake in vocational training, the Government’s Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) has been extended in 2015 with a £3,000 cash incentive on offer to businesses with a London postcode that recruit an apprentice. Elsewhere in England, the employer grant amounts to £1500 per apprentice recruited.