From education to employment

VTCT launch hair and beauty skills report in Parliament

John McNally MP and Alan Woods OBE

Qualifications organisation VTCT and The Hair and Barber Council gathered together leaders in the hair and beauty sector, alongside UK politicians, to launch their Skills Foresight and the case for Mandatory Registration reports in Westminster.

It was emphasised that more needs to be done within Government to recognise the value and diversity of the hair and beauty industry as a chosen career path. The hair and beauty industry contributes £7billion to the UK economy, employing 277,333 workers across 42,165 businesses, and is one of the most entrepreneurial career paths, in which a large proportion of workers go on to work for themselves.

The 2017 Skills Foresight report, commissioned by VTCT and endorsed by the Hair Council, provides insight into the changing skills landscape within the sector, and identifies ways in which the Government can meet any challenges and ensure high standards of training and qualifications.

Over 700 industry individuals contributed to the research, including employers, employees, training providers, suppliers, awarding organisations, trade associations, consumers, and government statutory authorities.

Industry leaders were joined in Parliament by MPs John McNally (SNP), who hosted the event, Ronnie Cowan (SNP), Neil Coyle (Labour), and Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE (Lib Dem).

Alan Woods OBE 100x100In his opening speech, Chief Executive of VTCT Alan Woods OBE said:

“The hair and beauty industry is fighting hard to shed the label of being a default career route; the stereotypical image of a hairdresser, a barber, a beauty therapist is changing into a far more complex, multi-faceted mosaic.”

“We are witnessing the emergence of a wider range of skills in the sector, and consumers are increasingly demanding more from their experiences, including some highly complex procedures. It is an exciting time but it also a challenging one – widespread reform of the skills and qualifications sector is underway and it is important that Government takes the sector with it during this process.”

“What has been striking about this research is the considerable demand from within the sector for a more skilled workforce and a need for higher qualifications, as well as a mandatory register for hairdressers and barbers to ensure a greater level of professionalism across the board.”

The key findings of the report were:

  • Roles are becoming much more technical, requiring greater knowledge and skill, and salons are offering more holistic services that provide a whole new customer experience. Micro-needling and chemical peels are two examples of qualifications that reach degree level standard.
  • There is demand for greater regulation to raise the standards of the industry, both via Government enforced methods such as the Skills Plan and the Apprenticeship Levy, but also through industry-led initiatives such as a mandatory register for hairdressers and barbers, which was called for by 85% of respondents who participated in the research.
  • Career routes into and through the sector are not confined to traditional job roles. New and interesting routes have been opened which include pathways into careers such as aesthetic nursing, non-surgical beauty technician, trichologist and a variety of roles supporting rehabilitation and palliative care, as well as dedicated film industry roles such as cosmetologists, and semi-permanent makeup artists.

Speaking at the event Chief Executive and Registrar of The Hair and Barber Council Keith Conniford said,

“The results of these surveys clearly show the huge appetite for our industry to be properly regulated via a mandatory register, and as such we sincerely hope that MPs and sector stakeholders take note of our research, and use it to drive change for hairdressing and barbering in the UK.”

Related Articles