The Rules of Apprenticeships: The Do’s and Don’ts on Making it

by akesha / last updated February 3, 2022

cos sakkas rules of hair apprenticeship

According to research by The Hair and Barber Council, there are some 16,500 apprentices in the hair and beauty industry. However, fallout within six months is a major concern as many struggle with length and intensity of their apprenticeship and others lose interest in mundane tasks.

For HJ’s Apprentice Week, we reached out to Toni & Guy head of education and international artistic director, Cos Sakkas, who believes you get out what you put in and, like any job, the more you throw yourself into it, the more content you will be.

Completing an apprenticeship in hairdressing can change your life and open up a world of opportunities.

“No one says being an apprentice is easy, but follow some simple rules and you will gain so much more than someone who does the bare minimum,” says Cos. “If you mope around, don’t practice and take off sick days you’ll fall behind and not enjoy it. Ask questions, practice as much as you can and immerse yourself in meetings and shoots and you will have a career that you will love every day.”

“These few informative years will lay the foundations to an amazing career. So don’t give up, don’t be despondent and remember, the long days won’t last forever!”

Cos’s rulebook for apprentices

1 It’s not reality TV – becoming a success takes hard work and dedication. We’re not living in a reality TV world where everything is done for you and fame is instant. You have to prove you are the best and spend time learning the craft.

2 Practice, practice, practice – Nothing worth having comes easy and the same applies to your training. If you think you can do something, do it again and again. It takes years to hone your skills and repeating a technique over and over is the only way to do it well.

3 Speak up – If you have a question, or want to do something, make sure you say. Your boss isn’t a mind reader and if there’s a skill you want to learn, or need help with something, make sure they know. If you are quiet and look disinterested you’ll be overlooked for members of the team that are more enthusiastic.

4 Stay out of the staffroom – breaks and lunch aside, don’t go into the staffroom. Ever. If you’ve finished washing hair, or tidying up, stay on the salon floor and watch what the stylists are doing. How they talk to clients, how they section the hair or where they place the pins, you will learn a lot by watching hairdressers at work. And if you see someone is busy, offer to help.

5 Dress to impress – they say dress for the job you want, not the job you’re in, so make sure you always look good. That doesn’t mean spending all your money on designer clothes, but make sure you look clean and smart, clothes are ironed and shoes aren’t scuffed. Do your hair and make-up every day; wearing different hairstyles is a great talking point with clients and will show the rest of the team what you can do.

6 Find a mentor – find someone you respect and will spend time with you as someone did for them. We have all had someone in our careers who advised and guided us, try and find someone to do that for you.

Don’t miss HJ’s Apprentice Week, which you can find the full schedule for here.

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