Apprentices

We’re Not Snowflakes – What do Hairdressing Apprentices Actually Want?

by laurahusband / last updated February 3, 2022

Hairdressing Apprentices

To celebrate National Apprentice Week, we spoke to hairdressing apprentices from across the UK to get the lowdown on what they want from their apprenticeships. They cited work/life balance, job fulfilment and clear career progression as the non-negotiables when it comes to their apprenticeships. They also recognised sacrifices had to be made and that sometimes advancement comes at a cost (particularly to their pay packet!) It makes for fascinating reading…

“I feel like my friends who are at university don’t work as many hours as I do as a hairdressing apprentice.”

Lisa Jones, Brooks & Brooks London

In 2020, do you think you have to sacrifice a lot for the career you want?
I moved from Ireland to study in London so leaving my family and finding somewhere affordable to live in the city was definitely a sacrifice for me. Also, I feel like my friends who are at university don’t work as many hours as I do.

What do you say to people who think hairdressing isn’t a great career choice?
It’s funny, when I was at school people used to look at hairdressing as a fall-back job, but now I’m in London people say, ‘cool job’.

Did your school give you information about apprenticeships?
I didn’t get any advice from school about apprenticeships – there was only information on careers like engineering, teaching or medical professions.

“I’ve seen the journey of other hairdressing apprentices who have moved up the salon ranks, so I hope to do that.”

Josh Beardshall and Morgan Hirst, Russell Eaton Salons, Leeds and Barnsley

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Josh: I love working at Russell Eaton and I’ve seen the journey of other apprentices who have moved up the salon ranks, so I hope to do that.

What salary would you like to have as an apprentice?

Morgan: I feel the salary should be higher as living costs have increased. I wanted to learn to drive but had to get financial support from my family, which I know others aren’t always as lucky as me to have.

What was your apprenticeship journey?

Josh: I came into hairdressing a littler later in life. I completed an apprenticeship in electrical engineering initially, but it wasn’t my passion. After meeting Robert, he gave me an opportunity working at the salon. I do sometimes put my old skills to use changing a lightbulb or two!

“It was difficult to initially find a 2020 hairdressing apprentices role, so there should be more on offer”


Megan Wade, Kelsie Hampson and Jade Cartwright, KJM Salons, Hampshire

How important is work / life balance to you?
Jade: I have a good balance between working, training and my social life. At KJM Salons we have every 5th Saturday off which helps.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? 
Megan: I want to be earning lots of money and have a big column of lovely clients who love me!

How important is having a fulfilling job to you?
Kelsie: Very important, I love what I do and enjoy learning.

What salary would you like to have as an apprentice? 
All: £200 a week would be good!

Do you think anything needs to change to the current apprenticeship scheme? 
We have a good balance between our in-salon training and doing our NVQ 2 at our local college. It was difficult to initially find an apprenticeship, so there should be more on offer.

“I think young people struggle to see the bigger picture and want money instantly.”

Zack Hammond, Hooker & Young

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I want to complete the Schwarzkopf Colour Master degree and my long-term goal is to have my creative work published – getting the front cover of HJ would be a dream!

What do your friends think of your career?
My friends crack jokes about my career from time to time, but I don’t take offence. I’ll be the one laughing when I’m more successful than them!

Do you have a mentor? If so, who is it? If not, would you like one? Why?
Paul Ferguson, Gary Hooker and Michael Young. If I’m half as talented or successful as those guys I’ll be happy.

Do you think anything needs to change to the current apprenticeship scheme? 
Very few of my friends have chosen to do an apprenticeship. I think young people struggle to see the bigger picture and want money instantly. Maybe they think they will be more successful going to university. I’m confident that’s not the case!

“I love my job, but I also need time to spend with my friends and practising my religion.”

Lidia Kondratowicz, Artelier Hair Salon, Formby, Merseyside

How important is a work / life balance to you?
I love my job, but I also need time to spend with my friends and practising my religion.

What makes a job fulfilling? 
Having the opportunity to constantly learn new things. Working hard and earning a good wage even when you are still in education.

Why did you choose a career in hairdressing?
It’s a demanding job but very rewarding. I think the opportunities in the hairdressing industry in 2020 are better than ever.

“Earning whilst you’re learning is good, however it can be hard when you aren’t getting paid as much as your friends.”


Ellie Hare and Tyla Simmons, Sarai Hair and Beauty

Have you had to sacrifice a lot for your apprenticeship?
Ellie: The only aspect I have had to sacrifice is my salary as I used to worked full time. However, long term it will be more beneficial as I’ll have my dream job.

What’s been your favourite part so far?
Tyla: I love completing a challenging colour. It’s so rewarding, especially when I get good feedback.

What salary would you like to have?
T: Earning whilst you’re learning is good, however it can be hard when you aren’t getting paid as much as your friends.

Do you have a mentor?
T: In our salon we have a training mentor and a wellbeing mentor.

“My mentor gives me opportunities to learn, gain confidence and meet new people.”

Tia Kingh, Errol Douglas Salon, Belgravia

Where do you want to be in a years’ time?
I want to be a colourist at Errol Douglas. I have recently passed my NVQ level 2 qualification with a distinction so hopefully I’m on the way!

What salary would you like?
As with many vocations, it can be a struggle to manage on an apprentice’s salary. But I knew this when I chose hairdressing as a career – I view it as a short-term sacrifice to get to the point where I am doing what I love and earning a competitive salary.

Do you have a mentor?
Yes, Errol Douglas. He gives me opportunities to learn, gain confidence, meet new people and help out at events which is not only exciting but inspirational too.

“An apprenticeship shows employers that you can work at a fast pace.”

Kane Harrison, Christian Wiles

Why is hairdressing a great career choice?
Hairdressing is such a rewarding job because you can make your clients feel happy, even when they’ve had a bad day.

How did you find your apprenticeship?
I completed 40 hours work experience at Christian Wiles when I was in college, then I applied for an apprenticeship.

Do you think there needs to be more apprenticeships?
Yes, they give you fantastic experience in the working world and show employers that you can work at a fast pace. Plus, you earn while you learn.

“The opportunities in hairdressing are vast”

Tania Headmasters

Tania Sayahi, Headmasters Mayfair, London

What are your future goals?
In 5 years’ time I want to be a L’Oréal Professionnel Colour Expert and become a member of the Headmasters Art Team.

Why is hairdressing a great career choice?
The opportunities that come with a career in hairdressing are vast and there are so many successful people to aspire to.

Who is your mentor?
My in-salon educator Jowana. She is motivating, an amazing teacher and always teaches me the most effective techniques.

“I love my job, but I also need time to see my friends and practise my religion.”

Lidia Kondratowicz, Artelier Hair Salon, Formby, Merseyside

What makes a job fulfilling? 
Having the opportunity to constantly learn new things. Working hard and earning a good wage even when you are still in education.

Why did you choose a career in hairdressing?
It’s a demanding job but very rewarding. I think the opportunities in the hairdressing industry in 2020 are better than ever.

How important is a work / life balance to you?
I love my job, but I also need time to see my friends and practise my religion.

“Working somewhere you feel valued has an impact on moral.”

Daniel Walker, Blue Tit Clapton, London

How important is work/life balance to you? 
Hairdressers are creative and it’s important we have the time to pursue other interests. At the very least it keeps you inspired at work.

Are you enjoying hairdressing? 
I feel so grateful to be in a job as fun and creative as hairdressing. Even being able to wear your own clothes is liberating. Working somewhere you feel valued and looked after has an impact on moral.

What do you think of the current apprenticeships scheme?
It felt like the NVQ could be clunky at times and it was hard to feel like you were progressing. I also think the system could be more accommodating to older students who want to learn the trade.

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