At Bob’s Hairdressing, a Regis Acquisition Salon, Apprenticeships are a way of life. The salon takes on two apprentices every year to complete a training programme that lasts two years.
Manager Markus Ayre told us that the salon only recruits staff through apprenticeships: “It’s our choice to take on apprentices and it’s something we’ve always done from being Bob’s Salon through to Regis buying the shop. We’ve continued with the apprenticeships because we believe in investing in the next generation of hairdressers.”
Although there are Regis salons on high streets up and down the UK, Bob’s Salon retains its own character and the ten members of staff operate as a close-knit team. The more experienced hairdressers, colourists and beauticians look out for the young apprentices.
Bob explains the salon’s heritage: “This salon was established in 1980 by Bob himself, then we were taken over eight years ago by Regis International. Before that, we were a private, independent salon. Regis has a strong history of apprenticeships so it’s a great match for us.
“It’s not difficult to find young people with the attitude we’re looking for when we’re recruiting apprenticeships, but hairdressing is obviously a very specialised job. We need to train our apprentices to complete tasks professionally.”
One of the advantages of the scheme from Markus’s point of view is that it gives the apprentices time to really get to know the salon’s customers personally:
“Training and development are definitely very important but it’s also great for the apprentices to get to know our guests. Over the two years on the salon floor they gain so much experience and really learn how our salon works, plus, the customers know them and feel comfortable around them.”
Apprentices at Bob’s Salon can expect to learn a broad set of hairdressing skills, as well as some techniques that are specific to Regis’s style. They also take home an hourly wage. Asked about how the salon selects its apprentices, Markus says:
“Our first point of contact is with the college and then obviously we’ll filter through suitable candidates, interviewing them to get an idea of what they’re like and whether they’ll fit in. Once we’ve got a shortlist we’ll do a training day and pick a candidate from that. The candidates are usually 16 years old.”
Although the salon doesn’t receive apprenticeship grants, the two colleges involved in the scheme, the Grimsby Institute and AllCrest Academy, ensure there’s a solid structure for the apprentices’ learning:
“There is a clear training plan. We expect the apprentices to be in the salon for four days a week and at college for one. A representative from the college comes in and they assess the apprentices’ progress. There are different levels for the apprentices to work through and we support them at each level. Obviously the first level would be shampooing and treatments. Then it’s blow-dries, semi-permanent colour and so on… It gets more and more advanced as they go along.”
The apprentices, who are working towards Level 2 apprenticeships, undertake a combination of practical and theoretical work and, after two years, become professional hairdressers.
As salon manager, Markus understands that he has a duty of care towards the apprentices:
“We have some legal responsibilities towards our apprentices because they are very young. You’ve got to consider young persons’ health and safety.
It’s definitely worth it though. I’ve been the manager here for eight years and I’ve been at Bob’s for 13 years and I really believe home-grown is best when it comes to young stylists.”