Careers

This is How Hairdressers Felt About Their GCSE Results

by charlottegw / August 23, 2018

GCSE results

Relief, excitement, surprise – these are just some of the emotions the following hairdressers felt when they got their GCSE results. Find out how their careers progressed and the choices they made to get them to where they are today.

I definitely don’t think hairdressing is a trade people should consider just because they didn’t excel at school, it’s for everyone

Pete Burkill, UK creative director, Alter Ego Italy: “I got my results 14 years ago and I remember like it was yesterday! I was full of nerves even though I had already been accepted into Philips Hair Academy. Surprisingly I passed all my GCSE’s with A*-C grades, and everyone tried to talk me out of hairdressing after I got such good grades. But my mind was made up as I’d wanted to be a hairdresser since I was small. I was working the day I got my results, shampooing hair and already absorbing the industry. I picked up my results then went straight back to the salon! I was such a hair geek I fully qualified in under 12 months and went straight onto my NVQ Level 3 which took another 12 months. Hairdressing was always my number one choice and I did it with great grades that have helped me throughout my career. I definitely don’t think hairdressing is a trade people should consider just because they didn’t excel at school, it’s for everyone.”

I love the creative art of creating styles and looks and looking at hair as a material you can sculpt or change at will

Ashley Haynes, RUSH Artistic Team Member, RUSH Hair: “I felt scared about my results coming in as I felt an incredible amount of pressure to perform in each of the academic areas. I received an A* in Art and all my grades were above C. In terms of further education I went on to do A Level Sports Science, but didn’t feel it was for me – so I took a year to find an art vocation. I tried working within the food industry and even applied for Royal Air Force. I stumbled into hairdressing as my girlfriend told me to give it a try and I loved it. I love the creative art of creating styles and looking at hair as a material you can sculpt or change at will. I always wanted to teach and lead, so naturally I worked my way up the RUSH tree. I am now part of the RUSH Artistic Team, participating in shows and seminars as well as looking after our Rising Stars.”

I took a job in a local salon and started earning money on an apprenticeship. I enjoyed having something productive to work towards.

Sam Ashcroft, senior stylist at Brooks & Brooks, London: “It was a nice surprise when I got my results as I didn’t anticipate getting very good grades. I was unsure of what I wanted to do in terms of further education as I didn’t like being stuck in a classroom. I got A-C in all my subjects except Religious Studies and after talking to my parents and deciding sixth form wasn’t the best thing for me, I took a job in a local salon and started earning money on an apprenticeship. I enjoyed having something productive to work towards. My mum was a hairdresser so it was always something I was interested in, but I also wanted to be a chef or a photographer, I couldn’t make up my mind. But I definitely wanted a career where I would be doing something creative and productive and that I would enjoy.”

I always pushed myself in school and was determined to be the best that I could be. This is probably the most valuable thing I learned throughout my time at school.

Misha McLean, stylist at Rainbow Room International, Uddingston: “I was absolutely delighted with my exam results! It took me a good 10 minutes to actually believe that the results that had come through the door were mine. I always pushed myself in school and was determined to be the best that I could be. This is probably the most valuable thing I learned throughout my time at school and is the philosophy that I apply to all areas of my life and career. As I’m from Scotland the education system is a little different. The maximum number of subjects you could study was five and I was delighted to receive straight As. Less than a week after sitting my Highers I began work as a salon assistant in the Rainbow Room Uddingston salon. From here I was able to achieve my NVQ Level 2 and 3 qualifications, working in the salon as well as attending the RRI Academy. I’ve worked hard and been lucky enough to win Junior of the Year at the BHBAs and also won a place on the Schwarzkopf Young Artistic Team. It just goes to show that everyone has their own path in life and it’s up to you to your follow your heart, and work hard to achieve your goals!”

I actually didn’t pursue hairdressing until after college although I thought about it before and after but I always wanted to finish out my schooling.

Jason Hogan, celebrity and associate colourist at Josh Wood, London: “I first felt relief that the wait was over! You feel so much pressure from family, friends on how you would do…. then elation when I had a better grades than expected! I got a B in higher-level math, which I was so pleased with as algebra was not a strong point! Science I got an A, I always enjoyed that subject so it all sank in so much easier. I continued on in school and after went to Griffith college in Dublin where I studied accountancy…a bit different to what I do now! I actually didn’t pursue hairdressing until after college although I thought about it before and after but I always wanted to finish out my schooling.”

Hairdressing wasn’t something I had ever considered, so having a chance haircut was one of the best things that ever could have happened to me…

Simon Hill, owner of Sesh Hairdressing, Edinburgh: “In the end I felt a lot better than expected to after I failed my prelims with spectacular fashion and was advised to seek a career in the RAF. I managed to scrape pass marks on my standard grades although I still chose to leave school at this point and ended up forging a career in hairdressing.  I applied to join the RAF but was six months too young so I looked into doing furniture design at college. The course did not begin until after the summer holidays so my mum took me to get a haircut in order to start applying for jobs and I ended up being offered a job in the salon where I was getting the haircut. Hairdressing had never really been an option for me and wasn’t something I had ever considered, so that chance haircut was one of the best things that ever could have happened to me.”

I don’t think university is for everyone – it can be a costly mistake and if people thought about their skills set and passion more carefully they might find an industry more suited to them.

Ashley Gamble, owner of Ashley Gamble in Shifnal: “I knew my results didn’t really matter as I had a part time job from the age of 15 and was lucky enough to find something I loved early on – hairdressing. I would have loved to have excelled in school, but I just wasn’t built for grades. A lot of my grades were C-D. But I learnt in education that I liked to be neat and was very good with people of any age. At the age of 15 after my first day working in a hairdressers I knew I loved the environment I excelled at engaging with people and being surrounded by so many women! It was my dream job and it still is. These days I find a lot of intelligent clients of mine push themselves to achieve great things, but often their career has been chosen by parents or it isn’t necessarily their passion. I don’t think university is for everyone – it can be a costly mistake and if people thought about their skills set and passion more carefully they might find an industry more suited to them.”

Alan Woods OBE, CEO of VTCT commented on the 2018 GCSE results:

“It’s encouraging to see strong pass rates across a range of subjects, and we’d like to really congratulate all students receiving their results today, particularly in the context of a major change to both the grading system and more stretching academic nature of this year’s GCSEs.

“However, whilst today’s results show a slight decline in the number of students securing a level 4 pass in English Language and pass rates in maths remaining broadly flat, we need to be taking further action, backed up by government funding, to dramatically improve the pass rates for those aged 17 or older retaking their maths and English GCSEs, some of whom have retaken these exams up to 9 times. Standards and graded outcomes are becoming more rigorous across all forms of learning, and business, government, schools and colleges need to promote the opportunities and benefits offered through all vocational  and technical education, including apprenticeships.

“From hairdressing to software engineering, and from Law to spa management, relevant maths and English qualifications are critical for students looking to pursue a technical qualification, an apprenticeship or for those intending to go to university.”

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