70 Years of Apprenticeships

Salon group highlights benefits of training ‘on the job’ ahead of National Apprenticeship Week 2018

“Schools need to tell leavers about all the options available to them”

KH Hair, is celebrating after reaching a milestone 70 years of delivering apprenticeships to more than 2000 young people across the East Midlands.

KH Hair is synonymous with the provision of exceptional and forward-thinking training and its apprenticeship programme aims to take raw talent from across the County and help train and develop young people for a successful career in hairdressing.

KH Hair Group’s managing director, Darren Messias, says:

“National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 5-9 March, is the perfect opportunity to show young people how rewarding this career path can be. It’s not just hairdressing skills we teach our apprentices. Over three years they learn how to deliver first-class customer service and front of house duties; professional development; effective team work and how to take responsibility and ownership of their careers. They also get the chance to attend shows, exhibitions and enter competitions to enhance their learning.  Plus, we teach maths and English essentials with the help of a qualified school teacher to assist trainees who may need additional help with basic numeracy and literacy skills.

” And, of course, It’s not just a full-time job – apprentices are learning and gaining a nationally-recognised qualification while getting paid at the same time.”

The KH Hair Training Academy, which opened in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire in 1988, was recently announced the winner of the ‘Training Award’ at the 2017 British Hairdressing Business Awards.

Its state-of-the-art facilities include a working salon where trainees can run their own column and train in all skills up to Level 3 Diploma for Hair Professionals, In addition, it now runs a barbering Diploma alongside the hairdressing programme which gives apprentices additional skills and options for their future in the industry.  In their third year, apprentices are able to take part in a micro business course on which they are taken through the whole journey of salon business life. This ‘Young Enterprise Group’ teaches graduate stylists about how a salon is operated and managed and the financial considerations of running a business.

“This is a fantastic tool for preparing graduate stylists for future roles as salon managers and/or franchisees, as well as giving them vital insights to help them contribute to salon life.” adds Darren.

First year apprentice, Jasmine Booth, certainly has no regrets about choosing an apprenticeship to begin her career in hairdressing.

She says: “I love the people I work with. Everyone is helping me learn new skills and it’s like being part of one big family. One of the most exciting things I’ve learned is how to apply colour.  It’s great to see a client’s reaction when they go from brunette to a really bright fashion colour. ” I’m also loving learning long hairdressing skills like creating knots, braids & up-dos. It’s great fun to see your own unique creation.”

The Academy achieves incredibly high successes year-on-year gaining 75-100 per cent pass rate and has been awarded top marks of 100 per cent by funding partners, Central Training Group – the only Academy to achieve this.

Despite the opportunities and support available through apprenticeships, Darren and co-director Tim Fee are concerned that schools aren’t doing enough to give school-leavers comprehensive advice about the choices available to them.

Darren explains:

“According to Department of Education figures released  in October 2017, total apprenticeship starts for May, June and July last year fell a staggering 61% compared to the same period in 2016. I believe this is, in part, due to incomplete advice being given to both school-leavers and their parents about the available options.

“We know from experience that, when pupils express an interest in hairdressing, many schools are pushing them towards further education in a college environment and not always telling them about the opportunities and benefits an apprenticeship can bring.

“Careers advisers need to be giving them the whole picture so they can make informed choices before embarking on the career path of their choice. We believe schools and local businesses offering apprenticeships should be working together to inform school-leavers of all the options available to them. This way, we could potentially be involved in the careers advice at the source.”

Many of KH Hair’s graduates have gone on to stay with the Group for their entire professional career. A significant amount of trainees who have come through the Academy have gone on to become specialist colourists and stylists as well as developing their business skills to become salon franchisees.

Tim Fee joined KH Hair as an apprentice in 1976 at the tender age of 16. Now 57, and co-director alongside Darren, Tim still feels passionately that the apprenticeship route is the one to take. “Alongside the skills apprentices learn and the salary they earn is the fact that, if you work hard and achieve your goals, you are potentially guaranteed a job as a stylist at the end of the programme.  Whereas, when you leave college, it’s up to you to try and find employment.” he says.

Another apprentice success story comes in the form of Loughborough salon director, Sheralynne Shepherd. who joined the programme in 1999, aged just 16 and became a franchisee when she was just 24.

She says: “I wanted to be a apprentice as I wanted to earn money and, being a chatterbox, really wanted to be part of a team.  I also liked the idea of learning on the job and being in the world of work. I would definitely recommend apprenticeships as the perfect way of gaining experience, really learning what the job is all about and having access to all the opportunities that arise from that.”

KH Hair is now recruiting for its next intake of apprentices for July 2018.

If you’d like to be part of this award-winning team, or want more information about the apprenticeship programme, please call 0115 972 7407 or email:  donna@khhair.co.uk