This is How To Attract Quality Apprentices in Your Salons

Published 11th Feb 2024 by Charlotte Grant-West

Sourcing quality apprentices can be a tricky task, so in light of HJ's Apprentice Week, we asked industry leaders to reveal their secrets to sourcing the best of the best...

“Always treat apprentices like future staff”

Paul Simbler, Director of HOB salons: "We place a big focus on an apprentice’s career with HOB, rather than viewing the apprenticeship as just a means to an end. We are not recruiting apprentices, rather, we are recruiting future stylists and colourists. The additional graduate training programme on which HOB apprentices are enrolled, following completion of their apprenticeship, is presented as a seamless transition from step one to step two. Every apprentice is made aware that there is a clear and definitive pathway that they can follow to become a stylist or colourist in a HOB Salon. We’re not providing just a training programme, but a clear journey to success.”

“Revaluate your apprenticeship pay”

Hilary Hall, past NHBF Chief Executive: “Remember when you’re recruiting, you’re competing with all the other salons in your area because everyone is finding it so hard to recruit suitable, quality apprentices - especially in the 16-18 age bracket. One way to set yourself apart from the others is to pay more than the National Minimum Wage. The National Minimum Wage is just the legal minimum you can pay, not the ‘going rate’ so there’s nothing to stop you paying more to get the right candidate. Are there other ‘nice to have’ incentives that you could throw in on top of their wages?  Many employers use schemes such as Perkbox to provide additional rewards and motivation (discounted rates available for NHBF members).”

“Shout loud about your perks”

Vicky James, Principal Stylist at Charles Worthington Salons: “We run a fantastic training plan for apprentices and we need to ensure they truly know what they’re signing up to and the level of access they get. From great industry exposure from the day they start, in-house training by senior team members, bespoke courses and hands-on coaching – we even have a glitzy apprentice awards ceremony every year. There’s lots to shout about and you can always shout louder.”

“Nurture close relationships with colleges”

Lynne Warrington, General Manager at Michaeljohn: “Word of mouth is very important to us at Michaeljohn. We have a handful of strong links with some great tutors with whom we’ve worked with closely over the years. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship as we’re able to support them with tips, careers advice and work placements for their students. Equally they give us insight into the next generation. We also attend college open days to gauge the level of talent that’s coming through the ranks as it’s always interesting to see the areas of strength across the various schools. Some years, they’re strong on cut and styling, some years they’re stronger on colour. It’s an ever changing landscape and so important to be in constant contact.”

“Use social media to engage potential apprentices”

Linda Stewart, Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Rainbow Room International: “Social media is a key platform for us to speak to young people and engage with them on a daily basis. When we are looking to recruit quality apprentices, we always make sure we promote this on all our social media platforms, posting great visual content on how to apply for our apprenticeship programmes. Our social media platforms are also a great way for us to show young people how we are a great company to work for, what events we get involved with and the awards we win.”

Why not give your social media strategy a boost with these 10 convincing reasons to become a hairdresser?

Charlotte Grant-West

Charlotte Grant-West

Published 11th Feb 2024

Charlotte oversees the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. With over a decade of experience as a journalist, Charlotte was formerly Editor of Modern Barber and HJ Men, Social Editor at Netmums and Features Writer at Boots Health & Beauty magazine. She loves any products that make her hair bigger and more voluminous, and loves a behind-the-scenes peek at anything hair-related – whether it's a factory tour, BTS on a shoot or backstage at fashion week.

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