From education to employment

Colour Me Happy: I found a salon star apprentice

Not many colleagues know I was once an Apprentice. I studied Hairdressing and Art when I finished school. I don’t ever remember not finshing my schooling. I’m continuously learning. And earning.  Exactly like an apprentice!

I worked in Mayfair and Knightsbridge salons with art teams who toured and had agents booking regular magazine and film shoots. Working with so many amazing people enhanced my learning experience. It was a wonderfully glamorous time of my early working life. I specialized as a colourist.

Today I’ve met the next gen salon professional:

Yolanda Douglas, a graduate colourist, began training two-years ago at the luxury boutique Belgravia salon Errol Douglas. Yolanda’s training was assessed in-house working in the Colour department under the direction of the best hair artists in the business. Teaching and learning was validated by an independent training provider.

FE has certainly seen a healthy rise in independent training providers where one seeking a vocational or core subject will now have a wider range of choice as opposed to enrolling onto a traditional (sometimes limited) classroom based course at the local college.

FE is finally moving it’s focus from academic retention and achievement goals to now developing robust workplace learning provision and integrating education with businesses.

When done well this business partnering with vocational study is where we see students really excel and contribute to their choice industry, and our economy. 

When I caught-up with the MD of one of London’s most fashionable places to be seen with foils in, I wanted to know how much salon training has evolved since Hairspray. Errol announced Yolanda won a place at the prestigious Colour Award via the Fellowship of Hair Artists and has won Junior of the Year at the British Business Awards.

So hairdressing traInees are no longer in ‘just an assistant’ roles cemented at the backwash shampooing or sweeping salon floors. That’s a sole task of the past for these budding stylists who not only help each other to best-represent their salon brand, they are involved in award ceremonies, fashion shoots, and some travel with their salon mentors all around the world to shoot films and music videos! 

Whilst training in the ED colour department Yolanda had the privilege of assisting a Toni & Guy educational ambassador.

Errol Douglas said:

“Yolanda has the biggest asset in the industry; she is a fantastic communicator. Very scientific and innovative with her applications.” Errol reminded me, “Colour work is a very useful illustrious career.”

When I asked if the current Apprenticeships model should continue to develop aspiring professionals, Errol spoke strongly on the matter:

“Of course! I myself and the business are advocates of apprenticeships – when you look at commercial growth, in fashion, in food, in business, all we need is the next generation to move industries forward.”

We then discussed Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, and Richard Branson all believe in apprenticeships. So onwards and up from the original (before I was conceived) YTS schemes.

The training investment in Yolanda has certainly produced a positive outcome, a rising star. Yolanda now manages nine members of Errol Douglas’ junior staff, coordinating lunch and holiday rotas.

I asked Yolanda if she feels she has enjoyed the training process whilst being so busy. “It’s been amazing. My apprenticeship has helped me to learn technical skills and assist on shows and creative work. I’m always learning.” Says Yolanda.

And managing staff? “Yep, it was a little frightening at first but we all get along and we respect each other at work. I’m getting on really well in my graduate role. I love what I do!”.

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