From education to employment

How Welsh Salons Can Overcome Recruitment Challenges with Apprenticeships

The Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis are two big factors that salon owners believe are affecting their ability to recruit new staff.

The pandemic meant that salons had to close their doors for months to comply with the laws around social distancing. Now the cost-of-living crisis means some salons are unable to afford to train new staff, and existing employees may be looking for higher-paying jobs outside of the hair and beauty sector.

Donna Bowen-Anderson, Customer Account Manager at ISA, says:
“The perception of low-income apprentices is something that is truly a challenge for salon recruitment. It is critical to ensure that learners understand the massive benefit learning a skill in hair, beauty and barbering can have, often leading down the path to becoming higher earners in the future.”

We explore these challenges and explain how apprenticeships can help salons grow their business.

1. Apprenticeships are an affordable option for learners
Removing barriers to apprenticeships can be one of the first steps in widening the appeal to potential learners. Studying at university can be expensive. Many students struggle to find a balance between work and study to support themselves, often finding it difficult to find a suitable job after graduating.

ISA Training (part of Educ8 Training Group) offers a variety of apprenticeships that are fully funded by Welsh Government. As Wales’s leading hair, beauty, and barbering apprenticeship specialist, these courses provide practical lifelong skills, that can act as a foundation to build a truly successful career.

Apprenticeships offer an opportunity for learners to enter employment and earn while they learn. Apprentices can develop new skills without the level of debt typically associated with a university degree, with the opportunity to progress to higher paid job roles.

2. Apprenticeships support salons with training and recruitment
Support outside of the salon is a fantastic way to ensure that apprentices receive a well-rounded education, combining their practical experience with theoretical knowledge.

Qualifications delivered by ISA Training are run by trainer coaches who have a wealth of experience, who are active within the industry and are up to date with hair and beauty trends and techniques. They are dedicated to supporting learners across all aspects of their study, while helping relieve some of the pressures that salon owners face.

Finding candidates with the right technical, creative and customer service skills can be a challenge. With its knowledge of the sector, ISA can support with recruiting apprentices by helping advertise apprenticeship vacancies. They also help employers access funding through Welsh Government’s Employer Incentive Scheme, supporting learners with a disability into employment.

In addition to the support ISA can give salons, Donna Bowen-Anderson advised, “Salon owners need to be proactive in looking for apprentices, think about how and where they engage with their future staff and become a passionate champion for their business and the industry.
It is really important to shout about not just the technical skills but the valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication and problem-solving that apprenticeships also offer.”

3. Apprenticeships can help close skills gaps
Hiring an apprentice allows salon owners to not only nurture and develop new talent, but also to address skills gaps that they may have identified within their salon.

ISA apprentices are encouraged to study both hairdressing and barbering to widen opportunities and appeal to a broader clientele. This can allow salons to stand out among their competitors and enhance their reputation, while providing learners more opportunities to develop their skills and train in other areas.

Oli Tracey, Level 3 Hairdressing Apprentice and ISA Ambassador from Slunks salon in Cardiff, said:
“My apprenticeship has given me the knowledge and confidence to go out into the hair world and absolutely smash it! The support from not just my ISA trainer coach but the whole ISA community and organisation has been amazing. The opportunities I’ve had throughout my apprenticeship are ones I’ll never forget.”

Learn more about the qualifications offered by ISA Training and what support they can provide your salon.

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