LHAA welcomes pre-election pledges on careers advice
Promises made by the major political parties to provide better careers guidance for young people have been welcomed by the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy (LHAA), which has warned of a looming shortage of hairdressers, as vocational routes into work continue to suffer from a poor public perception.
According to the LHAA, which trains more than 500 apprentices each year from its three academies in London, Hertfordshire and Essex, a historic lack of structured and informative careers advice in the school system has meant that the UK’s 35,000 hairdressing salons and barbershops are now at risk of declining if the talent pool isn’t replenished urgently.
Employing over 200,000 people, representing 1% of the total UK workforce, the hairdressing and beauty industry generates over £4 billion per year for the economy. A quarter of these employees work in salons and spas in London and the South East but there are currently more vacancies for new trainees than there are apprentices to fill them, despite the attraction of considerable earnings and career potential. Salaries of hair stylists can top £40,000 per year.
In response to the launch of both the Conservative and Labour Party manifestos, Francine Luker, LHAA’s Managing Director, which oversees apprentice training for more than 350 salons, said: “For far too long, apprenticeships have played second fiddle to an academic path into work and this has resulted in the spectre of skills shortages in hairdressing, as salon owners struggle to recruit trainees. An apprenticeship is still the preferred way of getting on the career ladder in this industry and whilst the LHAA is pleased to see both political parties make pledges to increase the availability of apprenticeships, much more needs to be done to educate young people in an unbiased way on their importance and value.”
Continued Luker: “We will be watching the outcome of the General Election closely and continuing our own campaign to attract creative and entrepreneurial young people in this dynamic sector. Unless we see these promises honoured in the short term with the introduction of a careers service that’s fit for purpose and consistently applied in schools, the hairdressing sector will continue to suffer from a diminishing talent pool which will increase pressure on high street salons.”