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| August 8, 2020

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Tips for getting the most out of your apprentices

Tips for getting the most out of your apprentices
Sam Robinson

There may have been a 15% increase of youngsters starting an apprenticeship, but the hair and barbering industry continues to struggle to retain youngsters who join the industry. Fallout within six months is a major concern, as the long hours, sore feet and expectations fail to keep them interested. So what can you do to ensure your apprentices will stay with you throughout their training and beyond.


Cos Sakkas, TONI&GUY international artistic director and head of education, says: “The whole way we approach apprentices has changed dramatically over the years. When I started out more than 25 years ago, I would do whatever was asked of me, but times have changed. “Today, everything is instant and everyone wants it now. Many people don’t understand you have to spend years honing your skills.”

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Here’s eight tips from Cos for getting the most out of your apprentices, meeting expectations and creating a relationship that lasts.

1 On day one, introduce them to the salon, the team, the brand, tell them what you expect from them – which includes attitude and dress code. Talk to the them about a training programme and a timeline so they know what to expect.

2 Apprentices can’t just be used to clean the floor and make coffees; it’s important that each apprentice is assigned a stylist or technician every day. Put together a rota so they spend time to learn from everyone.

3 The days of being strict and arrogant are over. You have to have empathy, make them feel confident in themselves, nurture them and expect them to grow into their role. Discipline and mentor them throughout their apprenticeship.

4 Listen to what they have to say. More often than not a disgruntled assistant needs a good chat and feel like they’re being listened to.

5 Set a dress code where they feel they can express their personality but be on brand too. Stress they should look smart, no dirty clothes or trainers, little bit of make-up and always good hair!

6 Teach your assistants how to shampoo and head massage. They are often the first point of contact with the client and a great shampoo and massage can set them up for their appointment.

7 Teach them how to blow dry and teach them finishing skills. When you are busy an extra pair of hands is always useful and these skills are something they will need every day. It’s not good enough to just rely on a straightener or wand; teach them the traditional techniques.

8 Encourage them to know your column so if you’re busy they know who is coming in and what they are coming in for. They will get to know your clients by name, what they like and dislike. Give them a sense of responsibility.

Need more inspiration? Follow @cossakkas on Instagram here.