I have always been an old soul with a young heart, so after my first week of work experience in a hair salon I begged my mum to let me quit school and start work full time.
Except for break times I hated school, but I found that I loved the work environment even though I was de-hairing brushes, scrubbing floors and doing the lunch run. I loved how I felt exhausted but completely satisfied that I’d achieved something at the end of the day.
My parents didn’t let me quit school (rightly so) and I left with 11 GCSEs under my belt in the end. I started my apprenticeship straight away though, thankfully only having to do the theoretical classroom stuff once a month.
Being an apprentice is hard work…then you become a stylist and you realise why that was training for the next step. College is certainly an excellent path, but for certain people like me who learn better in a practical capacity by ‘doing’, I would completely recommend training in a salon.
By gaining hands-on experience, you are prepared for the real world of hairdressing and full price paying customers that aren’t anticipating you to mess up; if you do, there isn’t a teacher there to sort it out, so it really does teach you to get it right first time and stand on your own two feet. You never know what you’re going to get challenged with in a salon.
With so many different stylists and personalities, you will find that you can pick up so many different techniques that you may not find out about in a room full of students. In a salon setting, you are surrounded by professionals sharing years of experience and wisdom with you.
The other major bonus is that you also get paid…hello shopping!!
If you are thinking of becoming an apprentice, I’d recommend trying to arrange some work experience in a salon or volunteer your services on Saturdays. Go in and have a cut at the salon to check out the atmosphere you’d like to train at, as you’ll know whether you feel comfortable straightaway and can get an idea of the atmosphere and their working practices.
In the meantime: practice, practice, practice. Even without any formal training, you can use your friends to try and perfect your shampooing and blow-drying skills, you can learn a heap of styled updos from Youtube tutorials and blogs and you can begin building your portfolio of skills whilst waiting for the call.
The best advice I can give you is to personally hand in your C.V. to the salon manager. Don’t just hand it to them and run away, take the time to introduce yourself and make a lasting impression. Instead of waiting to be interrogated, ask questions yourself such as whether they have an apprentice policy, how busy they are and whether they would consider hiring you on a trial volunteer basis first of all.
Be persistent – not stalkerish, but pop in or phone and ask whether they’ve had a chance to review your C.V., emphasise your availability and eagerness to learn and don’t be afraid to ask for some feedback.
Most of all: don’t give up!
Take your time to have a look at these informative websites for more information on becoming an apprentice in your chosen career.