Open new doors

With National Apprenticeship Week 2021 fast approaching, we’re looking into how offering apprenticeships within your salon can boost a business.

National Apprenticeships Week takes place between 8th-14th February and aims to shine a light on the amazing work being done by employers and apprentices across the country.

An apprentice scheme is very popular within the hair and beauty industry, but it’s also hugely beneficial to a business. We’ve reached out to a handful of the industry’s experts as they explain some of the benefits you could reap by offering an apprentice scheme in your salon, the details of what can be gained from it, and exactly how the procedure works.

Chris McIntosh of Saks Education realises that apprenticeships are an excellent way of training junior staff members, allowing them to gain hands-on, practical experience whilst working towards a government-recognised qualification. 

“When you employ an apprentice, you are in control of the training. Weekly training sessions will take place in your salon with a member of your salon team. An educator will visit your salon regularly to deliver training, monitor the apprentice’s progression and help the apprentice to achieve.”

Chris believes that by hiring and developing an apprentice will show potential clients, employees, and investors that you are a centre of excellence for skills, growth, and development: “You will be seen as caring for the community by employing local youngsters and developing them into professional, skilled employees with a fantastic future in their chosen career.”

As well as being another pair of helping hands within the business, hiring an apprentice can open new avenues to attracting clientele according to Chris. He said: “Many apprentices are already very active on social media and can use this skill to help promote the salon to a new and, in some cases, untapped audience.

“We can confidently say that if you are thinking of expanding your team, an apprentice could add something different to your salon whilst keeping costs down.”

Chris revealed that it has been found that an apprentice can improve salon productivity and can improve staff retention at your business. Existing staff members become empowered to nurture your apprentice, championing them when they do well and want to see out the apprenticeship with them.

Upon completing their apprenticeship, an apprentice can become an integral part of your team, trained to standards that you set and develop relationships with you, your team and your clients.

Chris also explained that many apprentices who complete their training stay loyal to their salons after achieving, setting your salon up for the challenges of the years to come. This is down to the dedication and support offered by the training providers to the salons and the apprentice to prepare them for the exciting but challenging career they have chosen to pursue.

Cathy Weston is the National Director of Apprenticeships for TONI&GUY and Vice-Chair of the Hair and Beauty Panel – Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE). She believes that apprentices bring energy and ideas. As they become more developed they start to become innovative and technically savvy: “They have an understanding of their generation and know what they want, they are ambitious and bring a different culture to the business.”

Cathy highlighted that as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, employers are being offered £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25 they hire, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, up to the 30 April 2021: “This includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant. The new cash incentives for employers are in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18-year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

NHBF Director of Quality and Standards, Caroline Larissey, also notices that apprenticeships are genuine jobs that enable people to earn as they learn. Apprentices who successfully complete an apprenticeship are certified as having reached a level of competence which meets current industry standards. 

“Hiring an apprentice is a cost-effective way to support the development of new skills and talent in your business, with employers able to access funding and grants to support the costs.” Added Caroline.

Caroline brought the apprenticeship agreement and apprenticeship commitment statement to our attention, which states you must sign an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice, setting out the details of what you agree to do for the apprentice. You must also sign an apprenticeship commitment statement with your apprentice and the training provider. 

“This must include: the planned content and schedule for training, what is expected and offered by the employer, the training organisation and the apprentice and how to resolve queries or complaints.” (Find out more on at

According to Caroline, the benefits of hiring an apprentice include funding and grants to help employ apprentices: “Employers can access funding and grants to support the costs of employing an apprentice. In England as part of the government’s plan for supporting jobs as part of the economic recovery, employers are being given an incentive of £2,000 if they hire an apprentice aged under 25 and £1,500 for new apprentices aged above 25 between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021.

“You can use the payment for anything to support your organisation’s costs. For example, on uniforms, your apprentice’s travel or their salary. You do not have to pay it back.”

Second is developing new skills: “As a hair and beauty business owner, you know what skills your team needs to support and grow your business. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to grow your own loyal workforce to suit your business’s requirements and culture. Apprenticeships are designed by employers to reflect the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that your business needs. It’s a cost-effective way for you to bring extra resources into your business and provide training opportunities to your local community.” Said Caroline.

Thirdly is a boost to productivity and the benefits to your business. Caroline explained a staggering 78% of employers ( reported improved productivity after introducing an apprenticeship scheme. 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation and 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service. 

Caroline’s final benefit is the expansion of your team: “Younger apprentices may be familiar with new technologies such as social media; or if they are older, they may have other relevant skills and experience to offer. It’s a fabulous way to add new talent to your team.”

Apprentices learn all the working values and behaviours required for being a team member in the salon, as well as the practical skills for cleaning, styling setting, cutting and colouring hair. At the end of the on-programme qualification, they complete a final end assessment which is externally assessed.

Keryl Titmus is the HOB Academy Apprenticeship Programme Manager, and she believes apprentices are the backbone of the salon: “They enable the stylist/colourist to run to time and complete timely services.

“They are a key team member for boasting the salon reputation, mainly by providing a professional, pampering back bar experience and general smooth running of the salon.

“Having apprentices who are well trained enables the business to grow. We value our apprentices and growing our business. Once qualified and on the salon floor, they start off on our first price level offering a starting price for our services, therefore enabling them to reach out to younger clients potentially that don’t always have the money for the higher, more experienced band prices.” Added Keryl.

Keryl explained that often a salon would offer the apprentice an apprenticeship contract for the duration of the apprenticeship and then once they complete their endpoint assessment and are qualified, they can be provided with a PAYE or self-employed contract to work in the salon: “After you have invested in your apprentice and completed their training, I am sure you will want to benefit from their training by offering them a permanent position on the team. Our apprentices are our future.”

At TONI&GUY, once someone joins, they start on the Hair Professional apprenticeship programme, a 2-3 year course. This involves working in a salon and coming to the academy for dedicated training once a week. 

TONI&GUY’s Head of Education and International Artistic Director, Cos Sakkas, sees that their apprentices are: “Without a doubt the link in the chain of the salon – they are the ones that make sure everything flows.”

“Ultimately, they are our future. They are homegrown, so they are with you from the very beginning of their career, and they have an entire progression plan. They can specialise in so many areas whatever avenue they want to take we can support them in this. If you look after your apprentices, you will always have loyal members of your hair family.”

 Similarly to Cos, Nicki Thornton, Academy Director and Colour Specialist at Room 97 Creative always says: “Apprentices are the foundation of the business, without them, the business could easily crumble. 

“They are the ones that help keep the salons at the high level of standard, by keeping the clients happy with the smallest gestures like having the time to make that cup of tea to providing amazing head massages as well as keeping the salon clean to a high 5-star presentation.

“Having apprentices allows for more clients to be seen at one time. Once the apprentice has the ability to be able to carry out services themselves, such as blow-drying and hairstyling, they can also start to gain their own new clients.”

So, we’ve established that our experts feel very strongly about apprentices as Cos Sakkas describes them as “the link in the chain of the salon”. From this feature, you can see for yourselves that offering apprenticeship schemes within your salon are a win-win for everyone and are likely to not only boost your reputation but also encourage a new stream of clientele. For any more information, please contact us.