March 6 – 10 is National Apprentice Week in the UK. The Contemporary Salon Group, which has nine salons across the North of England, is a longtime supporter of apprenticeships, operating a scheme out of its renowned Hair Academy (with all education provided by former apprentices).
In support of National Apprentice Week, the salon will be running a series of images across its social media channels, demonstrating the opportunities and benefits of the unique training programme. Gorgeous PR spoke to Rachel Bedford, Style Director at the Stokesley salon, whose team is made up entirely of former apprentices. Rachel began her apprenticeship with Contemporary twenty years ago and has been with the company ever since.
How did your apprenticeship with Contemporary come about?
After some work experience at a local salon, I got a Saturday job at Contemporary. Six months later, I left school and started at the salon as an apprentice.
What were your first impressions upon beginning your apprenticeship?
I immediately enjoyed the industry and working closely with clients whilst learning new skills. The job was so varied – there was always something new to learn or think about and the buzz of the salon made it a great place to work.
Tell us about your progression from apprentice to hairdresser.
The unique thing about apprenticeships – particularly in hairdressing – is that the job combines ‘hands on’ work whilst learning. It’s not years of reading text books about what you are going to do – from day one you are working on real clients and learning real skills. I was driven by the thought of building my own column and loved the one-on-one training with experienced staff. My progress was recorded and evaluated on a weekly basis in my own personal file and this went on to be externally assessed.
Looking back, how important was this apprenticeship to your career and why?
It was essential. I was being paid whilst learning and experiencing the dedicated training that enabled me to develop and refine my hairdressing skills.
What would you say to anyone considering an apprenticeship?
Go for it. Earning whilst training is a huge advantage – it gives you a taste of what’s to come and great responsibility, the motivation to have your own career lies in your own hands. Apprenticeships are also amazing for teaching life and people skills that you simply can’t learn in a classroom.