Competitions and Industry Opportunities for Hairdressers of All Ages

by rachael / June 22, 2012

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Hairdressing is a fantastic industry for passionate, determined young people with countless competitions, artistic teams and mentoring programmes designed to nurture and promote emerging talent. But while encouraging a new generation of hairdressers is hugely important, what happens when you pass the age limit for all those fantastic opportunities? 
Whether you came to hairdressing later in life, didn’t have the time or money to commit to such schemes when you started out, or simply want to continue to train and develop your skills, we’ve rounded up some opportunities open to all ages.
Fellowship for British Hairdressing: Colour Project
What is it: The Colour Project is the hairdressing industry’s first colour-specific, all-ages programme, which allows colourists to learn from the best in the business without being aligned to any one product manufacturer. Guided by team leader Tanya Hennessey of Hair XS in Nottingham, successful candidates will enjoy a programme of up-close-and-personal seminars from a series of award-winning colourists and will also get to take part in a hands-on masterclass full of tips and advice to take your colouring skills to a new level and ensure that you’re at the top of your game. As well as providing education, PR coverage and fantastic networking opportunities, the action-packed course also incorporates a photo shoot, guided by Fellowship president Mark Creed of Philosophy Hair. 
They say: “The Colour Project has allowed me to look at colour from a new perceptive with fresh eyes. It’s a brilliant course with exceptional mentors,” Lindsay Grossman, HOB Salons.
How do I get involved? Call 020 7788 4091, or go to
Fellowship for British Hairdressing: Project X
What is it: Described as ‘the ultimate finishing school for professional hairdressers’, Project X is a one-year course open to hairdressers of all ages. Now in its eleventh year, the only requirement is that you are a member of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing or are a member of staff in a Fellowship salon. The diverse programme, currently led by Karine Jackson, provides first-class education as well as the opportunity to interact with some of the biggest names in British hairdressing – mentors over the years have included Mark Hayes, Zoe Irwin, Tim Hartley and Lee Stafford. Training days are in depth without being daunting and are tailored to the individual needs of the group. Areas covered during the year include media awareness, session work, advanced cutting, presentation skills and show work. Photo shoots with top photographers directed by legendary hairdressers are also included, plus you’ll get to enjoy a slot on the Fellowship stage at Salon International. Each year, the Umberto Giannini Project X Student of the Year is named at the Fellowship Luncheon and Awards in December, adding a further impressive accolade for one lucky member. 
They say: “I had a brilliant year. We got on so well together as a team and looked forward to meeting up every month to work and learn from some of our hairdressing idols. I’d recommend it to anyone who has passion, dedication and a desire for endless opportunities,” Frances Chapman, Kennadys. 
How do I get involved? Call 01295 724579, or go to
Aveda London Institute Training Scheme
What is it: Aveda’s London Institute is home to a unique training scheme, devised by Antoinette Beenders and Paul Goodier. Open to all ages, but generally attracting more mature stylists, the in-depth programme covers all aspects of styling, cutting and colouring as well as specialising in men’s hair, afro, fashion cuts and editorial hair-ups. Once stylists have graduated from the scheme the learning continues – a recent team of graduates from the institute flew out to America for an intensive two-day session with Antoinette Beenders to perfect their presentation and session styling skills. 
They say: “Beyond the technical skills we covered on the course, I learned patience and it gave me confidence. Excellent service is fundamental to the Aveda philosophy and my most lasting experience of the course is that it removed the fear I had of talking to people and being able to address their individual requirements with confidence,” Maria Rojas, Aveda Institute, 
Holborn, London. 
How do I get involved? Call 0870 034 2380, or go to
L’Oréal Professionnel ID Artists and Colour ID Artists
What is it: Led by some of the industry’s leading names, L’Oréal Professionnel ID Artists is a two-year development programme open to hairdressers of any age. Applicants are judged on their styling and presenting skills at open auditions, with a chosen group then coached in the latest catwalk looks, cuts and styling techniques. The artists will enjoy a minimum of 12 days of education and experiences each year, including an exciting international trip and the opportunity to work at fashion shows and industry events. L’Oréal Professionnel also runs Colour ID Artists, which follows a similar path but with a focus on developing all aspects of your colouring skills.
They say: “ID Artists was a massive part of my life – it was a dream come true! We were so well looked after by all of the mentors and the level of training I received was of the highest standard. It honed my presentation skills and taught me how to perform on stage as part of a team, which was really helpful,” Natalia Maxwell, George’s Hairdressing, Leicester.
How do I get involved? Call 020 8762 4200, or go to
NHF Inspire and Barbers Elite
What is it: Open to any member of the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF), NHF Inspire is a year-long project managed by Rebecca Dickenson from the Vanilla Rooms in Bawtry, Doncaster, which sees members mentored by some of the industry’s most renowned hairdressers from HOB Salons, Rush Hair, Sassoon and Trevor Sorbie creative teams. You’ll be coached in cutting, colouring, hair-up and extensions as well as presenting skills. The team will also get the opportunity to take part in editorial photo shoots, educational seminars and industry shows. Other opportunities may include working on a shoot for HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards, working on makeover shoots for glossy magazines and training courses at some of the best academies in the country. In 2012, the NHF also introduced the Barbers Elite Team – an all-ages project managed by James Beattie of Beattie’s & Co Barbers, created to improve the national standard of local barbering. Members will take part in editorial shoots, seminars and educational shows and the first team has already worked with Desmond Murray on two photo shoots.
They say: “Being part of the NHF Inspire team was a great experience. We worked on several shoots with some of the best names in the industry, includ
ing Akin Konizi and Bruce Masefield. It taught me the importance of building a team and the mechanics behind a shoot, including all the elements that have to work for an overall look,” Matthew Sutcliffe, Westrow, Leeds.
How do I get involved? Call 0845 345 6500, or go to
Schwarzkopf Professional Shaping Futures
What is it: Shaping Futures is Henkel’s charity and education initiative, which sees experienced hairdressers sent to an SOS Children’s Village in India to train disadvantaged young people in basic hairdressing skills, equipping them with the knowledge, techniques and confidence to develop a career – and brighter future – of their own. It is open to any hairdresser, as long as they have the necessary skills. As well as being an enormously rewarding project, Shaping Futures also enables hairdressers to work as part of the education team while also learning from each other and developing their presentation and teamwork skills.

They say: “The children that we trained during our time at the Children’s SOS Village in Cochin have been through horrific ordeals, some of which are too awful for us to even comprehend. Yet the children that we came across in our stay were so happy and content with what they have, it was heartwarming. These people have no worldly possessions to speak of and yet they were an absolute delight. I have never experienced a class that was so focused and wanted to learn. We really bonded with our students and were so proud to see them graduate as they really do appreciate all of your time and effort teaching them. We left with a hope that we have contributed to giving them the confidence to follow whatever path they choose in life and also appreciating our own lives and privileges so much more,” Scott Smurthwaite, Cream Hairdressing, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
How do I get involved: Call 020 7724 7931, or go to



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