What is the Best Way to Keep Your Apprentices Motivated?

by akesha / last updated February 3, 2022

motivate apprentices

Doing an apprenticeship isn’t all smooth sailing. This first step into the industry can be tiring, low-paid and sometimes feel unrewarding. But it’s an integral building block to forging the career that you want and something that all iconic and established hairdressers had to do.

It’s difficult to impress this on up-and-coming apprentices without sounding preachy, so we spoke to Toni & Guy international artistic director and head of education Cos Sakkas about the best way to encourage and motivate your hairdressing apprentices.”The whole way we approach apprentices has changed dramatically over the years. When I started out more than 25 years ago, I would do whatever was asked of me, but times have changed,” says Cos.

Here are his top tips…

1 On day one, introduce them to the salon, the team, the brand, tell them what you expect from them – which includes attitude and dress code. Talk to the them about a training programme and a timeline so they know what to expect.

2 Apprentices can’t just be used to clean the floor and make coffees; it’s important that each apprentice is assigned a stylist or technician every day. Put together a rota so they spend time to learn from everyone.

3 The days of being strict and arrogant are over. You have to have empathy, make them feel confident in themselves, nurture them and expect them to grow into their role. Discipline and mentor them throughout their apprenticeship.

4 Listen to what they have to say. More often than not a disgruntled assistant needs a good chat and feel like they’re being listened to.

5 Set a dress code where they feel they can express their personality but be on brand too. Stress they should look smart, no dirty clothes or trainers, little bit of make-up and always good hair!

6 Teach your assistants how to shampoo and head massage. They are often the first point of contact with the client and a great shampoo and massage can set them up for their appointment.

7 Teach them how to blow-dry and teach them finishing skills. When you are busy an extra pair of hands is always useful and these skills are something they will need every day. It’s not good enough to just rely on a straightener or wand; teach them the traditional techniques.

8 Encourage them to know your column so if you’re busy they know who is coming in and what they are coming in for. They will get to know your clients by name, what they like and dislike. Give them a sense of responsibility.

This article has been repurposed for HJ’s Apprentice Week 2022, which you can check out here.

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