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Apprenticeships in Hairdressing. Facts thoughts.


Welcome to BACK2MYROOTS B2MR:  regular postings of fresh new topic’s

Lets consider apprenticeship and the training it offers! Is it right for you as a salon or as someone looking to train to become a hairdresser and stylist?

Is becoming a apprentice the way forward for you. Is doing an apprenticeship the best training. Will it afford you the best opportunities once you have finished your training?

Here in the uk it’s fair to say that the government are very keen to promote doing an apprenticeship in most trades. Many years ago I myself did an apprenticeship much has changed since those days when at the age of 16 my parents signed papers along with a salon owner committing me to a three year apprentice program. On Reflection I was cheap labor, shampoo boy, cleaner, dogs body. Never given any opportunity to go to college day release.

Today with so many training options and the government keen to promote apprenticeships do your research firstly make sure it’s the right career and profession for you.talk with professional in the industry ask questions. Then and only then research your best way forward who is offering the best scheme be clear about the training and indeed time scale and format of all instruction. take charge of your career  an apprenticeship is based on trust but also mutual respect its a contact to train and gain experience in exchange for working make sure this is the case! make  sure you will get qualified and certified to the required level.

I also believe that we should have a body here in the Uk to over see apprenticeship training and standards one for hairdressers over seen by qualified industry professional who only goal and mandate it to raise standards. I think that fellow professional internationally would agree that this is the case in many countries states and provinces. We have to have training and standards. We have to offer the very best in training and should strive to have a high standard of qualified creative free thinking talent young professional coming into and representing our industry.

These days so much has changed and standards of qualification have to be reached.  lets take a look although law’s standards differ on a global scale i think the thinking is not that different from country to country.In my previous posting i discuss the topic of choice of career direction chair or booth rental freelance or mobile as an alternative to being a commissioned paid employed stylist in a salon.

Lots to consider as a way froward for both the salon owner business person and stylist with their own vision and goals for their career.

What is an apprenticeship? 
Apprenticeships enable you to. Practically learn your trade, as well as studying to gain the theory and enable you to receive your qualification. It is a marriage of hands on work experience, as well as having time to get day release to college for your NVQ qualification. They are aimed at young people aged 16 and over, to enable them to earn money whilst gaining experience in a hairdressing environment. Equally importantly the experience gained working in salon environment is invaluable An apprenticeship in hairdressing will normally involve, you working in the salon every day bar one or two when you will be attending college. It can take up to 5 years to qualify as a hairdresser but if your committed work hard show willing this does not have to be the case. So if you have the patience and the commitment to keep at it. Then an apprenticeship would be for you, gaining the experience of salon working  at the same time as doing the college work. The alternative would be college and then having to then find, a salon to gain the experience and skills to be qualified in all aspects of the hairdressing industry.


Are you creative good with your hand? Do you like people? Are you prepared to offer service?



Why do an apprenticeship? 

An apprenticeship enables you to earn a small income.  Whilst working and gaining qualifications needed to become certified .You can use an apprenticeship to gain NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) levels which is what you need to become a qualified hairdresser The main advantage to you as an apprentice, you will also gain many years experience in the practical environment and learn communication skills, people skills, things that are not always best taught at college, as opposed to all that time studying just the theory at college. Employers like to see that their future employees are keen to learn, but also see it as away to bring new energy and levels of talent into the salon team. Because of this salon owners are usually, very keen to take on apprentices who are committed enthusiastic and willing to work learn be a team player, it’s not always easy but it can be very rewarding and fun.

Will I enjoy an apprenticeship? 

When thinking about undertaking a hairdressing apprenticeship, You should be certain that this is the career path you wish to take, hard work for little financial reward long hours. You need to be really focused to be successful, know that you will need to put in the work and organise your time really well to balance salon work, college and personal time, not always easy. I would say it’s a life style choice certainly not for everyone. But the rewards can be many, in ways one cannot explain  you must be prepared. To be responsible for all aspects of your life and work ,finding time at work with studying in order to get the most out of it, this can be very challenging, its all about balance. You can’t just work in the salon and not go to college, because this doesn’t meet the requirements of partaking in an apprenticeship scheme. You should also be  prepared to be able to, work as part of a team and as an individual . Make you own choices decisions and live with the consequences for you choices hairdressing has no room for a huge EGO!

Lets face some facts! Answer some questions!



 

How long does an apprenticeship take? 
This can vary from 1 year to 5; it is dependent on the contract you have drawn up with your employer and on your own ability also.

As a norm 3 years of hard work should get you through to level 2NVQ,. it can take up to five years but within in this you could be, performing many salon tasks. By proving you worth and talent, some salons will promote you and give you opportunity to grow and advance, we all learn and grow at a different pace.

How do I apply to become an apprentice? 

You can call the National Apprenticeships Helpline on 08000 150600. They will provide you with information as to where your nearest opportunities are. They will advise you on the career you wish to take, they will have access to many employers and be able to advise you on where learning providers are in your area.

You can also get in touch with employers directly. Ask them if they take on apprentices or would be interested in doing so. If they do. Then they will probably arrange to meet you, as they would a proper employee and interview you, to ensure you would be a good investment for them to make

This being said you should also make sure. It’s the right place for you, ask to chat with staff members.maybe offer to do a few trial days. This is a big decision. This is a two way thing both parties have to know agree and be committed to this journey together. Not all salon owners have the best interest of trainee’s at heart! Some look at it a cheap labor  so ask the right questions make a list! compare what an apprenticeship offers against college or paying to take a shorter route career path by going to a private Academy ! lots to investigate.

Become part of a team! Learn how to communicate! Maybe gain some stage presence !


 Use the internet as a tool to help you find. Where takes on apprentices in your area. Additionally, look in your local newspaper and visit your nearest job center. You have to make sure you choose the right apprentice scheme to embark upon as well, so look upon it as finding a job. Check out you college. Find out about the courses, meet some of the instructors, just because they are qualified standards of commitment vary greatly. Make sure you do your research, before applying to ensure that you would be happy, working in the salon you choose and the college you have to attend. This is a big decision.

Explore you creativity discover your self! Hard work but endless possibilities!


Again talk with people. Ask question, read and research. I hope that my blogs help to advise and guide you with this wonderful creative challenging career.

Mike B2MR



 

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Challenging times in the salon or opportunities to be had


Back2myroots : A place to share thoughts and grow idea’s. B2MR

In these hard economic times. Is it a challenging time to be in the hair salon and industry or are there Opportunities to be had?

Are these extra challenging times for salon owners and stylist’s? Is the manufacturing company the distributors making to much profit? Or have times changed and we as professionals need to face up to the challenges of our changing industry? Honestly look at and review the way we do business what we offer.

I do think that manufacturers have a responsibility to the industry and for maintaining a professional image. But we also have to be aware that development of products promotion costs and they like us are in business to make money and turn a profit.


Think about the number of handlers all adding their bit on from manufacturer to end consumer. We in the salon are not all saint’s some times the mark up is 100%  on retail products we only pay sales commission of say 10% Hum! is that fair ? To  both stylist or consumer? Would it be better to mark up less turn over more? Discounting retail products and indeed salon services does it work? Or does it just cheapen the   experience? I see so many salons offering cheap deals 30% first service or last minute walk in discounts why would you do this? There needs to be more consensus between salons rather than competing with each other on discounts.


Think about this shared recently by some one I greatly respect.

If all salons and staff offer great service and standard of work in essence is all the same quality then which one will a client go to if they are all the same?? What would you do? Remember all the same ! THE CHEAPEST OF COURSE.  why do this discount thing maintain standards and fee’s.

Let look at an example of mark up and handlers.

Think about that tube of hair colour pigment. Produced on Italy cost pennies, other ingredients pennies, putting into a tube pennies, packaging shipping tax so on. Manufacture mark up? Distributors mark up? Then we the salon get hold of it that 3oz tube of colour say for $10.00

Maybe if used mixed correctly 3 colour applications one tube at how much per colour say $40.00 = $120.00 My point is many salons are just as guilty not all. This time of year there are many deals to be had with products gift packs ect. Do those deals get passed onto clients as a christmas thank you for your custom? From the time of manufacturer to getting to the salon at least 3 and maybe up to 5 different companies and distributors have handles said product and put their mark up on it! just sharing a thought. Everything is relative hair products to some degree you get what you pay for to some it’s packaging. It’s image, smell, marketing. The end consumer our clients also drive this some like to pay more than others some even buy because they like the bottles in the bathroom.

It’s a contentious subject with more than one way of looking at it. I do agree that the manufacturers double dip all the time. Marketing themselves as the cavaliers working with and for the professional.Yet flooding the market with cheap shampoo and indeed nasty over the counter hair colour. But for years the hair industry has allowed the professional manufactures and indeed colour companies to set the rules. Celebrity endorsement certainly does not help this but it’s the face of business it’s the way thing work.We have to acknowledge this and change how we think what we do and how we offer our skill and service’s.

We have to be ready to weather the storms: How? think out side the box challenge your self embrace change!

These are hard economic times for everyone this is a global issues and not just in the hair industry.However I also maintain that a culture of blame and pointing the finger  exists at the moment for it’s far  easier to attribute blame than do some honest sole searching about. What we do and charge. I still think clients can and do pay for exceptional service from knowledgeable skilled professional.What they will not do is settle for second rate service from unskilled professionals.

We must have an eye on the  big picture that being bigger than a quick buck or up sale of any given service.  Consultation, communication, informed skill.

A trip to a salon should be an experience worth talking about from start to finish. Many salons lose clients after the first visit why ! Because the client did not feel special and did not feel it was value for money! Now who can we or should we blame? I’m not every one every thing is totally wrong but we need all of us to take responsibility for our selves our actions be willing to make and accept change.


As very wise industry professional and  speaker educator. Pointed something out in a webinar recently on this very subject. A very talented knowledgeable lady called Karen.

The boom years. Those crazy years of pre christmas salon madness are a distant memory a thing of the past. Those booked from October to Christmas doing colour. selling product making a great profit. I was part of that now era! It’s past. wake up ! We have to work at our business cherish our clients their custom and the relationships we build with them.  For some of us seasoned in this industry as am I maybe a great challenge. But you know we have to be prepared and able to change embrace change work and do things differently.

This industry is for many still very rewarding and lots of very successful stylist and owners still make a very good living from it.
To all I say this .Negativity is very destructive and it’s alive and well and at work in the world today.Don’t become part of that world and culture
Challenge your self and your staff listen to your clients ask them what they want to see !! embrace the challenges and work to make the changes take control of your business and your life.

Work with you staff to offer the very best of service make it personal to each and every client, deliver an experience that they will talk about with others!

I hear so many businesses complaining about lack of new business or walk in clients.they get opportunity for exposure through things like Groupon then complain they made no money form it!

Groupon gives you a platform for exposure of your business how make the most of the new influx of clients is up to you the salon and staff.

Case point

I think that the concept of Groupon is a good way of attracting new clients.Recently my daughter purchased a facial at a local spa where she lives through a groupon offer.It’s quite an exclusive looking  place so she had alway been put off but the thought of high price’s.

She was pleasantly surprised when she went the service was out standing she thought that the prices were fair and reflected the standard of service the experience. She has not only been back a few times for other services she has recommended  to a number of her friends who have all loved it  .My point being one coupon netted maybe 6 or7 or seven potential good long term new client’s who also have connections.

It’s the coupon’s that will get the clients through the door the question is are you doing enough to keep them coming back for more? Most salon’s experience is that over 25% of first time new clients to the salon do not return. That is a huge amount of lost business what are they doing wrong? What are we doing wrong?

Enjoy the festive season .Mike B2MR


 

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Owning a hair salon The challenges!


Back2myroots : A place to share thoughts and grow idea’s. B2MR

Your having a great start to your day! Then two stylists come in ask for a word!

They give you their notice they are setting up a business across town! 

You own a busy and successful salon you employ a number of good talented creative staff. You provide trainees and assistants to work and support you team. You feel that you are fair to your staff and business is good, everything is going along smoothly. Clients are loyal so retention is good.

The salon seems to have a reputation for both service and standards of work.

Then one morning everything changes! Your two busiest stylists come in and tell you that they are leaving to open a salon on their own. They offer you two weeks notice tell you it’s nothing personal but they both feel they need a new challenge and that they feel that they have done and experienced about as much as possible in this present arrangement!

Off the bat you are shocked. You are devastated quite rightly. But how do you now cope with this?

Anger fear resentment panic! Followed by how will the salon cope what about their clients! Thoughts like why did they not come to me. I don’t deserve this why me!

Has this ever happened to you? If not chances are it will. If it has then I’m touching a cord I’m sure.

Why do I choose this as a subject because it’s one not touched on best left alone.

The fact is it’s natural progression it will happen have I done it to owner /business partners yes! Has it happened to me? Yes it has! I write to share experience and open discussion.

 At the time of me leaving a business I was involved in I feel I was fully justified in getting out. I was a minority and the two guys I was in business were taking advantage of my work ethic and looking after their best interest .So I did the same. Looked after No 1.

Having been let down myself was harder and I did not see it coming. On reflection I should have I allowed business and pleasure or employment and social life to mix too much.  The out come was being let down and left in a very difficult situation.

On reflection and from experience these situations are like any break up stressful and best way to deal with it is to attribute blame. What we really need to do is look at the big picture. The build up of said events. The circumstances running up to this situation we find our selves in.

When we do this and only when we do this. Can we really understand what has transpired culminating in this business disaster, how we handle is really the key to moving on and having closure.

After the initial shock how would you handle it? What would you do? Damage control? Ask said stylist to leave immediately employment terminated? Get the receptionist on the phone to all there clients. Call emergency staff meeting to rally the troops a lecture on loyalty to follow!

 Sound familiar? I advise take the high ground. Take your time to think it through. Some times inaction is much better than rash decisions and choices made in the heat of the moment. The leaving stylist will expect you to ask them to leave. They will already have full client contact information. In most case the key clients are all ready aware of this .In some case they might be caking it and or supporting it.  I’m not saying suck it up I am suggesting it’s how you deal with it and how you move forward that will define both you and your business.

Believe it or not this could be a huge opportunity to learn and grow and develop a whole new way forward for you your team and future employment.

So take a deep breath stay focused think the process through with an honest open mind. Reflect on your role and contribution to this for we all paly a part we all contribute to the circumstances leading up to this. Are you big enough?

I could write my thoughts on a resolution or out come but that’s; different for us all. I would love to hear some feed back on this.

Points to think about and understand.

Stylists making these choices, it’s not personal.

In building and developing a team create opportunity and incentives.

Do not play the blame game be professional when dealing with these situations.

Keep lines of communication open.

Learn and grow from the experience.

Focus on vision and goal for moving forward.

Do not create ill feeling about those stylists starting new venture. Wish them well

Keep all doors open.

[you may well gain more respect from clients who may come back] you will always be respected for being and staying professional.

Mike B2MR

 

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