- 07/04/11 - Achieving Ambition with Apprenticeship
Everyone needs a haircut and apprenticeships are the main route into Somerset's thriving hairdressing industry.
There are around 1000 hairdressing salons across the county and many more hairdressers work in hotels, spas and mobile businesses. Hairdressing apprenticeships have long been established as the way into the industry and high levels of training ensure stylists keep up to date with techniques, theory and fashion.
Kate Hathway, the 23-year-old owner of Tranquillity Hair in Street, has made the most of the steady demand for hairdressers. Kate started out as an apprentice studying at Strode College and working with Karen Christensen. All the stylists in her salon trained as apprentices too.
She thinks apprenticeships are a great route into the business. Kate said: "My apprentice Caryn goes to Strode College training salon one day a week where she learns about theory and technique. When she's with us we help her put this into practice. It's a good combination which works for us and for Caryn.
"By working in a salon an apprentice can learn so much. There's a constant flow of clients all wanting different styles and treatments, so the apprentice gets to listen and watch how many different things are done. Being in the salon also means they learn how to deal with customers and their confidence grows with every new thing they do."
Caryn Stills, 18, lives in Wookey and recently finished her Level 2 Hairdressing qualification. She is now taking Level 3 and starts work as a stylist at Tranquillity this month. Caryn said: "I knew early on that I wanted to be a hairdresser because it's something I enjoy. I wrote to Kate to see if she had any vacancies and after a trial day she offered me the position. I've learnt so much and working in the salon has really helped build my confidence with other people. My apprenticeship is helping me achieve my ambition."
Many apprentice hairdressers train at the Strode College hair salons in Street and Bridgwater. They showcased their creativity and technical skill at the college's annual hairdressing competition last week, where Kate Hathway was one of the judges.
All apprenticeship vacancies are advertised on the National Apprenticeships website.
To find out more about apprenticeships call Strode College on 01458 844476.