Hairdressing is a fantastic career choice. As part of the beauty industry, hairdressing is a constant, recession proof and in demand service. Provided you supply your customers with great service, they will continue to come back. The majority of people are striving to improve their looks on a day to day basis, and as a hairdresser you play an extremely important role in helping them to do this.
In this blog, we’ll explore one of the most popular options available for aspiring hairdressers: apprenticeships. We’ll show you the advantages of taking an apprenticeship, and provide you with some great tips on how you can make sure you secure your position as an apprentice hairdresser.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship enables aspiring hairdressers to learn their trade in the workplace environment, whilst studying to gain theory and qualifications. Usually, apprenticeships are taken by people aged 16 or over, to allow them to earn money whilst gaining experience. An apprenticeship in hairdressing will normally involve candidates working in the salon every day, and then spending 1 or 2 days at college. However, there are some salons who teach both theory and practical skills. In these cases, candidates will only need to enroll in college if their Maths and English skills are not up to scratch.
Usually, it takes between 3 and 5 years to become fully qualified as a hairdresser in the UK. This can depend upon if you are taking further courses in salon management, or where you start with your training.
Why take an apprenticeship?
There are a number of advantages to taking an apprenticeship, instead of studying full time at college:
- Your learning group will be much smaller than at college. This means that you will have much more one to one time with whomever is teaching you.
- You will earn money whilst you are learning key skills.
- You will gain fantastic practical experience from the front line of the hair salon.
- You will hugely increase your employability, as you’ll have more industry experience than if you had spent your time learning at college. You are also more likely to gain employment with the salon you trained at, since you have already built up a relationship with the staff.
How to apply
In order to apply for a hairdressing apprenticeship, candidates are required to first send in their CV. The salon will then contact and invite applicants to attend an interview. For some people, this can be a little scary, particularly if this is their first real interview. However, it is important to recognise that the interviewer will be aware of this, and the interview itself will be much less intimidating as a result.
The first step is to draft up a CV. If you are a younger candidate, you might not have any relevant work experience to fall back on. This is okay, since salons are looking for applicants who are eager to learn and develop. To start off with, you’ll need to write up a cover letter. A cover letter serves as an introduction to your resume. In your cover letter, you should tell the employer:
- Your skills and interests.
- Why are you applying for the role.
- Why you have chosen this particular apprenticeship.
- Your future ambitions
Sample cover letter
Following your cover letter, you’ll have to include your CV. This is the most important part of the application. With this in mind, here are some of our top writings for writing up a hairdressing apprenticeship CV.
- Make sure you show the salon that you have the key skills they are looking for. The core competencies that salons are looking for in an apprentice, are: a friendly and social personality, a genuine interest in the business and making people feel good about themselves, a hard working attitude and a willingness to learn.
- Keep your keep your resume short and to the point. The maximum length should be 2 pages.
- Start off your CV with a short personal statement, affirming your interests and passion for the business.
- Tailor your CV to meet the requirements of the job description. This is particularly the case if you are applying online. You should be given a short personal profile, which describes exactly what the employer is looking for in an applicant.
- Remember an employer must be able to look at a CV for a maximum of 11 seconds, and find the information that are looking for. Therefore, good presentation is extremely important.
Apprenticeship Interview Tips
Once you have sent in your CV and Cover Letter, you will be invited to an interview. In this section, we’ll show you some of the interview questions you might expect to be asked, and give you an idea of how to answer them. We asked an expert in the field, who regularly trains apprentices in his salon, what he thinks makes a good candidate and a bad candidate:
With this in mind, below we’ve provided you with two of the most likely interview questions you should expect to see in an apprenticeship interview, along with sample answers.
1. Why are you interested in doing an apprenticeship, instead of going to college?
This is a question you should expect to see in almost every apprenticeship interview you attend. The interviewer is asking for confirmation of the fact that you understand, on a basic level at the very least, the differences between working as an apprentice and taking a college course. The interviewer is also asking you to elaborate on what you feel the benefits of working as an apprentice are, and how this is more suitable for you personally than enrolling at college.
2. Why do you want to work as an apprentice for this salon?
This is another, very popular question. Just as they would in a regular job interview, the salon is looking for some confirmation of the fact you have researched them beforehand, and that they have qualities that are attractive to you. Don’t be afraid to flatter the salon here. Use the internet to research particular products that the salon offers, which you can then mention in the interview; ring the salon prior to the interview and enquire as to what services they offer (if they don’t have a website) or even go in and have a haircut. Mention the atmosphere of the salon and the friendliness of the staff as positive reasons for your decision to apply.
For more interview questions, CV writing tips and detailed information on what working in a hairdressing salon entails, please purchase our fantastic book How To Become a Hairdresser