ANDREW BARTON has been named as Patron of Honour for the Hair & Barber Council, only the third hairdresser to hold the position. So what does Andrew hope to bring to the role – and why is State Registration so important to him? We caught up with Andrew and Registrar KEITH CONNIFORD…
CONGRATULATIONS ANDREW ON YOUR NEW ROLE, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ONLY THE THIRD PERSON TO BE PATRON OF HONOUR?
ANDREW: It’s a huge honour to have been appointed this role following in the footsteps of industry legends, Vidal Sassoon and Daniel Galvin. I’m very much looking forward to working with the Council and industry leaders to achieve the ambition of the Hair & Barber Council. It’s a huge responsibility and I’m thrilled to have already received so much industry support.
KEITH: We’ve only had two other Patron of Honours in our history, but Andrew is an incredible ambassador for everything that is great about our industry, passionate about training and education, hugely creative and 100% supportive of regulating our sector – so he was a natural choice. I have known Andrew for many years, and I am absolutely delighted that he will be working with myself and the Hair & Barber Council as we come out of the pandemic.
KEITH, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE ACT OF PARLIAMENT AND THE HAIR & BARBER COUNCIL’S CAUSE?
KEITH: The Hairdressing Act (including barbering) was first constituted in 1964. Held in the name of ‘The Hairdressing Council’ which trades as the Hair & Barber Council, we are the only statutory authority for the hair and barber sector. Within the Act, we are responsible for protecting and developing the register of professional hairdressers and barbers throughout the UK, which is currently voluntary. What we are seeking to do is to change this to mandatory and to do so to have the current Act amended from voluntary to mandatory and include beauty into the body of the Act.
The industry will then self-regulate –government will play no role in this. We also host the Hairdressing, Barbering and Cosmetology All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) at Westminster. This is the only APPG for the hair and barber sector and gives us unprecedented access to Government via this route. In addition, the newly formed Personal Care Sector at BEIS was a triumph for industry.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE INDUSTRY BEING REGULATED?
KEITH: The benefits are huge! Not least that we will at last be recognised by Government as well as the public as the professional industry we truly are. Benefits would include ensuring a united voice to Government, for too long our sector has been hugely fragmented, a position regularly commented on by Ministers, MPs and the Personal Care department at BEIS. This has weakened our position hugely. It will strengthen our negotiation powers with Government, insurance companies and we will be able to influence debates that effect our industry. We will be masters of our own destiny – the industry run by the industry.
ANDREW, WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE INVOLVED WITH THE HAIR & BARBER COUNCIL?
ANDREW: Alongside working with profiling the industry at large as the best of British and championing careers in hairdressing and barbering, I care passionately about the future of the sector and its reputation. I’ve supported the Hair & Barber Council for many years and deeply believe in the benefits of a professional registration and its pursuit of ensuring professional standards and a united industry voice to government.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO HAIRDRESSERS WHO MIGHT NOT TAKE STATE REGISTRATION SERIOUSLY?
ANDREW: The pursuit of an industry being run by industry is a goal that ensures the sector’s protection. One voice, one body that avoids fragmentation and gives us the power to negotiate with Government and beyond. Currently anyone can practice as a hairdresser and with an ever-changing client landscape ensuring standards amd professionalism is key to our growth. I find it abhorrent that we are not united as an industry and anyone can claim to do what we do. For me it’s about protection.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THE INDUSTRY IS REGULATED AND HOW WILL THIS CHANGE THINGS?
ANDREW: I’ve been an advocate of education for the future of British hairdressing throughout my career through apprenticeships and through my ABLE scholarship programme for further education colleges. The client is ever demanding in terms of their needs and mandatory regulation ensures exacting standards and gives consumer protection.
KEITH: Without any shadow of a doubt, our sector would have been taken more seriously during the pandemic had it been regulated. With a united front, our combined strength would have given us the stronger platform needed to challenge the Government on behalf of the sector. The change in perception of the industry will increase significantly not just in the corridors of power, but with the public, and the industry choice of a professional career will be more significant than ever before.
ANDREW: Change is always about progress, commitment and dedication. The Hair & Barber Council is fully engaged with supporting the industry and achieving it’s goal, I’m delighted to be championing the cause.
“I’ve supported the Hair & Barber Council for many years and deeply believe in the benefits of a professional registration and its pursuit of ensuring professional standards and a united industry voice to government…”
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE HAIR & BARBER COUNCIL: WWW.HAIRCOUNCIL.ORG.UK