So you want to work as a hairdresser but don’t have any experience? Then the first thing you need to do is get some! If you are still at school, most salons will be happy to hire you on as a junior for weekend, evening or holiday cover help. However, if you want to train as an apprentice, then consider a hairdressing apprenticeship, particularly if you already have some experience in this area and have decided it is the career path for you.
A hairdressing apprenticeship is the most specialised way to start your training. To begin, you must be at least 16 years of age, be eligible to work in the UK, and not be in full-time studies. Although academic qualifications are needed, having personal attributes such as attention to detail, great people skills and an understanding and sense of style are all highly valued. Plus, you also need to be employable, presentable and professional.
There are a few industry-recognised qualifications for hairdressing and barbering, all of which can be taken on a full-time, part-time, or “on the job” basis. Accreditations can include certificates, diplomas and degrees, and an apprenticeship program will allow you to work and gain NVQ2 and 3 qualifications at the same time. To find out more information about apprenticeships and what schemes are available in your local area, check out the GOV.UK page on apprenticeships here.
Apprenticeships can be grouped into three different categories:
- Level 2 – Intermediate Level Apprenticeship
- Level 3 – Advanced Level Apprenticeship
- Levels 4 or 5 – Higher Apprenticeships
In addition, apprenticeship program requirements consist of the following:
- A minimum of 30 hours of combined work and learning per week
- One knowledge-based and one competency-based component
- Proficiency in Maths and English
- Understanding of employment rights and responsibilities
- Personal Learning and Thinking Skills assessment
As a junior in a salon assisting senior team members, you will have many responsibilities. These will include booking appointments, shampooing and conditioning hair, drying and styling hair, mixing and applying dyes and colourants, and perming and relaxing different types of hair. You will learn the principles of hair colouring and the effect that chemicals can have on the skin, including understanding what an allergic reaction is, and the reasons for applying a skin test. You will also learn about the range of products available for sale, their benefits, and how to promote them to clients.
If desired, apprentices can go on to further their skills and knowledge through advanced cutting and colouring courses. Some may even choose to start their own salon, using the knowledge, skills and professional experience acquired through their apprenticeship.
Sound interesting and want to learn more? Then check out the LHAA’s page on How to Become a Hairdresser for more information on hairdressing apprenticeships.