HJ Voicenotes: Sally Brooks Talks Apprentices and Newly Qualified Stylists

Published 08th Apr 2024 by hjiadmin

We caught up with three-times British Hairdresser of the Year, Sally Brooks, to talk about apprentices and newly qualified stylists.

“Right now, I fell that there is a lot of negative talk about apprenticeships and fear for the next generation of hairdressers. People are worries about the standard of education and who will be training the next generation as we see the freelance sector grow and the industry change.

“But I’m optimistic about the next crop of hairdressers. In my opinion, there are enough salons offering good apprenticeships right now. I truly believe that apprenticeships are in safe hands. I know there are complaints about how much apprentices cost a business, but they benefit your business too. Apprentices are there to make the salon run smoother. It shouldn’t be a one-sided arrangement. At Brooks & Brooks, we give a lot to our trainees, but we expect a lot in return too.

“I think there needs to be a clearer path for apprentices to follow. A lot of kids are coming straight out of school, and they are used to structure. In my experience, the people that succeed have set goals and a shared vision. At Brooks & Brooks that’s how we train. That doesn’t mean we don’t have issues, but everyone can see their path.

“I think apprentices are presented with too much choice now. When I trained, there was a linear path. Now, trainees are getting their heads turned by other parts of the industry and aren’t finishing their education first, they’re not mastering the fundamentals – without them we are not allowing them to make choices in the future. They think that the grass is greener and that their training is a sprint, not a marathon.

“My advice for anyone with apprentices? Get rid of any bad apples. They’re not bad people, but maybe a different salon would be better for them. To grow a successful apprentice team, they all have to be in the same place mentally. Do we need to adapt our training to suit Gen Z? Sure, I think knowing how people learn is crucial. We all learn differently – but the end result needed is the same – it’s how we get them there that might need tweaking. You’ve got to adapt a bit, but I don’t think we should lose our core way of doing things.

“We tend to put a lot of emphasis on apprentices and giving them opportunities, but are we thinking about opportunities for those who are newly qualified? This is an area we lose a lot of great talent from – it’s like learning to drive, you pass your test, but it’s when you drive without your L plates that you really learn. After qualifying, you really grow into an artist, so to continue to inspire and grow this sector is crucial.

“As an industry, we have to make the craft of hairdressing exciting. Yes, collections and working backstage is cool, but hairdressing in a salon is a very desirable career choice too. I think we forget that 90% of the industry want to work behind a chair, they want to make enough money to own a house, as well as doing a job they love. That should be celebrated too.”

Read next: HJ Voicenotes: Jordanna Cobella 



Published 08th Apr 2024

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