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6 Ways to Make the Most From Your Hairdressing Apprenticeship

April 12, 2024

The Apprentice may be a hit on our TV screens, but it’s not just Lord Alan Sugar who has gone in search of his dream recruit. As the lifeblood of a thriving salon and the future of our industry, hair apprentices fulfil a role that can’t be underestimated. We spoke to some of the country’s shining stars to hear stories of hope from the talents entering the hair world today, finding out what inspired them to go into hair, what have been their biggest challenges and what are their hopes for the future…


Chloe Porthouse

@Mark Leeson, Mansfield 

The Apprentice 3

“I messaged a few salons enquiring about a job when I was coming up to leaving school, but when I came for my interview here, I just knew this was the place I wanted to work – it looked so busy and everyone greeted me with a smile!

Every day in the salon is different; I feel like I am constantly learning even if it’s as little as doing a shampoo. Every other week we have a dedicated training night with Shaun (Hall), which I really enjoy as it gives me an insight into what running a column can be like, showing how important it is to keep on time.

My boss, Mark Leeson, is my hair hero – I love his creative work and how it always stands out differently. I also love how he has a positive attitude towards the team and all the clients, making the salon a really nice environment to work in.

Advice I would give to someone wanting to go into hairdressing would be to ignore the stereotypes. Hairdressing isn’t an easy job and it’s not all about cutting hair; you need to prove and show your passion and creativity.”


Rhea O’Brien

@Smith England, Salisbury

The Apprentice 4

“I love the fact that Hairdressing is a hands-on job, and I really enjoy the social aspect. When I was looking to work in hairdressing, I researched different Salisbury salons and Smith England stood out the most with a great reputation. I would love to specialise in styling and cutting because of the visual side of it – being a technician is more scientific and requires a longer process, whereas with cutting, I can see the outcome already!

The best encouragement I’ve been given is from my mum. She always says if I get through being an assistant, I’ll get to the top. I need to work hard, starting at the bottom and climbing my way up. My favourite part of working in a salon is having a team around me. I’ve met best friends here and I’m able to socialise with lots of different people.

My advice to anyone starting out in the industry is to be patient. Hard work will pay off!”


Neve Bennett-Lockey


The Apprentice 8

“I was attracted to hairdressing because it’s a creative career that would let me express myself artistically and not confine my spirit. I picked Haringtons because they have a great reputation for training and the salon is a lovely environment to work in. They have produced some top hairdressers who have gone far in the world of hair and one day I would like to do the same. At the moment, I’m loving doing both technical and styling; being able to support a client through their entire hair journey is something that really inspires me.

In terms of training, my programme is four full days a month, doing five models a day plus one model night a week.

Another massive part of my learning involves working on the salon floor throughout the day and watching how the other staff work. My favourite part about this is getting to express my creativity and meet new people. The social aspect of hairdressing is a wonderful part of my job and a great life skill to have too.

My best advice to someone wanting to go into hairdressing is to be your true self and to have lots of confidence. Being able to express yourself plays a huge part in what kind of hairdresser you’ll be. As with all things in life, the job requires hard work, but the rewards can be great.”


Jasmina Smith

@Errol Douglas, London

The Apprentice 5

“My mum works at Errol Douglas on reception and organised a trial shift for me because she knew how much I loved hair. She thought doing an apprenticeship here would be a really good option for me. Before this, I was studying beauty, but I definitely gravitated more towards hair.

I currently work four days in the salon and then go to college one day per week. I also have model nights where I learn in the salon after my workday. I’m able to bring braiding clients into the salon on my days off too – when Errol discovered I could braid, he was very supportive! He’s posted my work on his Instagram account before and has encouraged me to post my own work more too.

I find learning in the salon extremely useful. I’ve learned so much from everyone, especially because we’re being educated by the best stylists and colourists who have been doing this for years – they have so much knowledge to give! In the future, I would like to specialise in Afro hair as well as being able to cater for all hair types, so Errol Douglas is perfect for me.

My advice to anyone that wants to go into hairdressing is to have confidence. You need to have confidence in order to relate to clients and be able to speak to people.”


Darcy Hosford

@House of Keune by Bloom

The Apprentice 6

“I came across the House of Keune by Bloom on social media and I was attracted to it straight away – it’s stunning! It also offered me the best opportunity to learn and better my skills.

We train one day per week in the salon, initially bringing models and getting everything signed off. When I get close to being on the floor, my training days will increase to build more confidence and experience with clients.

The best tip I’ve learned so far is to ask as many questions in a consultation as possible, even if they might seem meaningless. Always reconfirm what you have discussed back to your client too, this shows you have understood and will help better paint the picture for you both.

The most difficult aspect of my journey so far has been getting models every week for my training, it has been a steep learning curve!

My advice to anyone thinking about an apprenticeship would be to be confident. Having the confidence to ask people I see on the street to be a model for my training was tough, but it has given me so much more self-belief when it comes to working with the public in the salon.”


Charley Jefford

@Tristan Eves, Petworth

The Apprentice 7

“I tend to learn visually and have lots of creative interests, so this led me to pursue a career in hairdressing. I chose to work at Tristan Eves because I heard about its promising opportunities and potential for growth and learning. My progression from an apprentice to a qualified hairdresser, working with clients and receiving five-star reviews, allows me to showcase my practical learning within the salon, including my skill development and my growing confidence.

The most challenging part of my hairdressing journey occurred after qualifying when I took time off to have a child. Coming back, regaining confidence and rebuilding my skills were significant hurdles. Despite the difficulties, this journey has shaped my resilience and determination in pursuing my career. I love working with people and experiencing the rewarding feeling that comes from making someone happy with the outcome I’ve crafted.

My advice for someone aspiring to enter hairdressing would be to embrace practice and hard work. Infuse love and passion into your work and you’ll reap the rewards through happy clients and positive recognition.”



In England, previous apprenticeship frameworks were phased out in 2020 and replaced with new guidelines that set a higher standard and include a wider range of skills. This makes today’s apprentices far more ‘salon-ready’ when they’ve finished their training.

Legally, you must sign an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice. This sets out all the details of terms of service, what training they will receive and how long the apprenticeship will last. It’s a watertight way of making sure everyone knows what they’re in for.

If you salon or barbershop business has fewer than 50 employees, you and your training provider will each receive an incentive payment of £1,000 for each 16-year-old (or 19-24-year-old who has been in care or has a local authority care plan) apprentice you take on. You can find details on the Gov.uk website.