Personal Development is Vital for Your Apprentices
Training an apprentice is not just about teaching them the skills and techniques that will make them great technical hairdressers, it’s about personal development, helping to shape them as people so that they are ready to work in a professional environment.
This is something Ken Picton of Ken Picton Salon in Cardiff feels passionately about. “In my view, it’s vital that salon owners help develop apprentices as both employees and as people,” he says. “Quite often young apprentices are straight out of school so the only experience they have with adults is either with their parents or teachers; it’s very difficult for them to switch from that mindset to a customer-facing, service-based and operational role. One of the things I find they respond to is when you ask them to do something, say ‘could you do me favour and…’ as for them this is a break from being just told what to do.”
Continues Ken: “For us communication is crucial and we work hard on developing these skills in our apprentices, everything from the way they speak to their body language. Once you instill these skills in them, their hairdressing will become better – the most vital part of the client journey is the relationship formed between the client and stylist which is why the consultation has to be consistently worked on. If we don’t work on these skills for youngsters it doesn’t matter how skilled they are at their craft, they’ll fail when faced with clients.”
“It’s important that in an apprenticeship the apprentice is developing their personal skills too, as there are so many attributes required to become a successful hairdresser, including being creative, outgoing and confident, being able to work individually, but also becoming part of a dynamic team and enjoying meeting new people,” says Jono Goodall, Francesco Group’s assistant work based learning manager. “At Francesco Group we try to develop an apprentice’s personal skills as much as possible. We ensure that transferable skills are promoted during all theory and practical sessions so not only will our apprentices be the best hairdressers but they will also be well grounded members of society. We do this by ensuring that we have a buzz word of the day for each session so apprentices research popular topics in the news, religious events and diverse subjects. and discuss how that affects each member of the group. We also develop confidence during the apprenticeship program by including a salon manager’s role for each session to ensure that each member of the group has the opportunity to oversee the session and set realistic targets for each apprentice to achieve.”
“Personal skills – the ability to communicate effectively and get on with all sorts of people – are absolutely crucial to hairdressers,” says Colin McAndrew, owner of Medusa Training in Edinburgh. “You can be the greatest technical hairdresser in the world, but if you can’t talk to people properly you’ll get nowhere. So, it’s one of the first things we look at when we are recruiting. You can teach people to cut hair well, but if they’re not a people person, turning them into a fabulous stylist will be an uphill struggle.”
Continues Colin: “A lot of young people just need some help with building their confidence, so at Medusa Training, we work hard to develop presentation skills. We do specific training sessions in communication, and get trainees up to present their work and ideas in front of others. Getting them used to talking publicly is one of the best ways to build up confidence. Some young people – though not all – these days seem to leave school with an undeserved sense of entitlement. It’s an attitude that won’t do them any good in their developing career, and we gently try to ease them into a different mindset. We show them, and, try to lead by example, that working hard, and then working a bit harder still, is the best way to achieve lasting success. “
At the HOB Apprenticeship Academy, the team believes it is personal skills that underpin the true professionalism of our industry, ensuring that the client experience is enjoyable and personalised at every point. Says Jacky Jones, apprentice programme manager.
“We encourage our apprentices to tailor their approach to their client through appropriate product knowledge and recommendations, excellent communication skills, team work and attention to detail. This can often be more challenging with the millennial generation where we may need to teach how to apply the skills learned through social networks to real life situations.”
Continues Jacky: “By developing these personal skills our apprentices consistently demonstrate a passion and commitment to learning. We give them opportunities to develop their personal careers in the hairdressing industry by nurturing their creative skills assisting with photoshoots, backstage art shows and seminars, plus working alongside our International creative director, Akin Konizi and the creative team at our internationally recognised Academy.”