Getting the Most from your Hairdressing Apprenticeship

You may find you have to go further afield to get a nice salon offering a good training program but it will definitely be worth travelling a little; obviously this isn’t always the case and really depends where you live. I know it’s expensive to travel anywhere these days but it will almost certainly pay off in the long run. If the salon has a good reputation for nurturing great stylists, not only will it give you the best start to your career but your C.V will look great. Having a well-known salon added to it will make it easier to progress in the hairdressing world.

Training programmes

My idea of a good training program is one that has stylists willing to get their trainees involved in everything. All of us stylists have been down this road before and we should all know that the more support a trainee gets the better stylist they will become. Some of the best tips anyone could give someone starting out in the industry is to ask questions, questions and more questions. However simple you think the answer may be, you don’t know until you ask! The second thing is to watch as much as you can; WATCH consultations – the best hair creations and the happiest clients, always come from the best consultations. They are one of the most important parts of your training.

The client

Talking and listening to your clients’ needs will help to build you a large clientele far quicker than someone who is not confident or can’t be bothered to give their clients a proper in depth consultation! WATCH colours taking place and ASK why the stylist chose the colour he/she did?

ASK what result did they want to achieve? When you see the colour result and know the sylist's choice of colour and the reason they chose it, the understanding of how colouring techniques work should hopefully fall into place. There is a lot of theory training involved in hairdressing, despite it being a very hands on job. Actually seeing results, as opposed to reading or being told about them, creates a far better understanding of how they actually work.

ASK about why the stylist is using a particular cutting technique or a particular product (most clients won’t mind you asking as they are usually rather interested in whats happening too!)

We in the industry call it commentary hairdressing and clients really do seem to like knowing whats happening to their hair. It also helps when recommending products as you have talked them through what you are using on their hair and why. This can sometimes lead to recommendation sales, boosting your wages with commission - a good thing for you and the salon!

Not only should a good apprenticeship give you the best shampooing, scalp massage techniques, cutting, colouring and styling training, it should also teach you to interact with clients in a professional manner. Moreover you should learn product knowledge (usually a rep from the salon’s chosen brand/brands visits once a month to give any training needed in the knowledge of the whole range).

These reps are usually very knowledgeable and good people to listen and talk to – you can ask even more of those all important questions! You should also learn to take payments, work different salon computer programs, reception training and make sure to keep the salon clean and tidy at all times – there really is so much to learn but if the industry is right for you, it’s a very enjoyable, sociable time too.

All about you

Getting the most of your apprenticeship comes down to how much you yourself want to succeed. If you are enthusiastic and want to learn, you will absorb all the information around you; you will be asking those questions EVERY day, watching every cut, colour, blow-dry, etc.

EVERY time possible, any free time you have during quieter salon times you should (if your employer allows) do any possible training you can, for example, offering to blow dry a client's hair or asking to be shown, and possibly practicing, a particular technique on a mannequin head.

Perhaps there could be a willing colleague who will let you loose on their hair?! You could ask a colleague to go through the colour wheel with you or try some other kind of theory training so that no time is wasted and you are absorbing as much information as humanly possible!

Of course on your specified training day you will have to get models to practice on. You can usually get friends and family to come in and most of the time the salon will already have its regular clients that come to the training school. These salon services, provided by yourself, will be at a discounted trainee rate, so that you can get the most experience in all aspects of hairdressing, all under the safe supervision of your teacher!

So in summary, to find the best possible apprenticeship you need to get out there and start researching those salons. You can volunteer your services for a day or two in a few salons and see who’s got the best training to offer before you apply. Check out their websites; call or email and ask some of those all important questions. Do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best start – I wish you good luck in our exciting industry!


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