Hairdressing Apprenticeships - Career Advice and Vacancies

Hairdressing apprenticeships (most popular with 16-24 age group) are an excellent way of earning money whilst at the same time receiving training towards your intermediate level 2 in hairdressing, a qualification without which most UK salons won’t consider recruiting you as a stylist.

Once you’ve acquired your level 2 you may wish to extend your apprenticeship and work towards your advanced level 3, more often required for supervisory positions within a hairdressing salon. You would go on and do your level 3 for example if you wanted to become a senior stylist, salon manager or owner.

Hairdressing Apprenticeship Vacancies

You'll find that most hair salons offer hairdressing apprenticeship opportunities.

Salon Hairdressing Apprenticeships

Most hairdressing salons will offer hairdressing apprenticeship positions. You can often choose to work for large hairdressing salon and salon franchise chains such as TONI&GUY, Rush Hair, Headmasters, REGIS and Supercuts. Or you could choose to work as a hairdressing apprentice for an independent salon.

Some hairdressing companies like Headmasters, TONI&GUY and Rush Hair have set up their own specialist training academies where at the end of your training you’ll end up with an NVQ level 2 in hairdressing.  You will often be expected to attend training at the academy one day per week and outside of that time carry out hair apprentice duties back in the salon.

Other salons that don’t have their own hairdressing academy will typically allow you one day release each week to attend college.

The benefit of applying for a hairdressing apprenticeship position through a salon is that at the end of the training and provided you’ve impressed your employer you’ll be advanced onto the salon floor to become a hair stylist

You can find a list of all the latest hairdressing apprenticeship vacancies here 

College hairdressing apprenticeship Courses

There are countless colleges up and down the country offering hairdressing apprenticeships. Some are dedicated specialist academies like the LHAA (London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy) offering hairdressing academies in Borehamwood, Camden, Loughton and Chiswick. Whilst other colleges might be generic colleges offering a huge portfolio of subjects of which hair and beauty courses might form a small part

When considering a college hairdressing apprenticeship make sure you attend an open day or make an appointment to have a tour of the college facilities including the hairdressing faculty.

- You want to check your college has:

- State of the art salon training facilities

- Relationships with a whole network of local salons that can offer you work placements

- Offer accredited Habia courses

Many courses will require you to be employed full time in a salon and that you will also be able to attend college one day per week. Most salons offering salon apprentice level positions will be happy to afford you one day release each week to attend college. And generally you’ll  find most supportive salon employers will be happy to make a contribution towards your tuition fees. Employers can themselves get grants to assist with taking on apprentices providing they agree to some hiring conditions such as providing on the job training.

Don’t worry If you find a course but are struggling to find an employer as many colleges will be able to assist with salon placements.

Hairdressing NVQ level Topics

With your NVQ level 2 course expect to cover hairdressing skills such as the client consultation and care, , health and safety within the salon, cutting, setting, styling and dressing, colouring and perming. Once qualified you’ll be able to work as a junior stylist within a salon.

Hairdressing Apprentice Salon Duties

As a hairdressing apprentice you’ll be expected to assist the hair stylists and senior stylists within the salon. Some of the duties you’ll be expected to carry out as are follows:

- Shampoo and condition client’s hair

- Comb clients hair in readiness for their stylist

- Prepare refreshments for clients

- Sweep the salon floor and keep it free of loose hair

- Assist hair stylists with the styling and colouring of clients hair

- Launder and fold towels

- Ensure hair products are attractively displayed

Some of the duties may at times seem quite trivial and unrelated to what you really want to do which is cut and style hair. However every job you carry out will be of importance to the overall running of the salon. Whether it’s displaying good customer care because you’ve made a client a cup of tea or made someone really enjoy their shampoo because you’ve learnt and used correct head massage’s all a valuable part of the service.

With hairdressing apprenticeships it’s all about the effort you put into the role and your commitment to learning. The more you practice and seek out opportunities to learn, the more advanced the opportunities you’ll be given within the salon and the quicker you’ll progress to becoming a hair stylist.

Duration of Hairdressing Apprenticeship

A hairdressing apprenticeship typically takes between 18 month and 2 years

Hairdressing Apprenticeship Earnings

Expect to be paid the apprenticeship national minimum wage. See table below for the hourly rates as of April 2017.
These are legal minimum levels but some employers may pay more together with commission if for example you sell any professional hair care products. 


Apprenticeship Minimum Hourly Wages
Age Minimum hourly wage
16-18 £3.50
19+, in 1 year of apprenticeship £3.50
19+ in year 2 of apprenticeship £5.60
21+ in year 2 of apprenticeship £7.05
25+ in year 2 of apprenticeship £7.50


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