Building a hairdressing career with an apprenticeship

Emma Peel from Nottinghamshire chose the apprenticeship route to build her bright career in hairdressing.

During National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we spoke to Emma to find out why she preferred an apprenticeship over college and why she’s never looked back. Here’s what Emma had to say:

From student to an apprentice 

Before my apprenticeship, I worked every Saturday at my local hairdressers, Richo’s Hair and Beauty Boutique. I loved the experience! I found that the more my boss Rebecca Richardson taught me, the more I fell in love with hairdressing. 

So, when I finished my GCSEs, I was planning to take my experience further and study hair at college. I started college as planned, but soon it became clear that it was not for me – I didn’t enjoy it. That is when I decided to carry out a hairdressing apprenticeship with Realise. 

Thankfully Rebecca offered me an apprenticeship with Realise, which allowed me to learn on the job, with more hours than I would have had at college so I could get more experience. 

Learning while having fun 

My typical day at work starts at 9 am. I usually start by making everyone a cup of tea or coffee and then stacking the ready to use towels. 

Throughout the day, I normally shampoo, blow-dry and straighten client’s hair. Some days are more varied though, I recently completed a one block colour. 

Christmas Eve was a standout day at the salon for me. Christmas music was playing in the background and our regular clients were enjoying their visit. I did a wash, blow-dry, and curled a clients hair with hair extensions. It not only challenged me but also allowed me to get creative, which the client loved! 

One of the many things that brighten up my day is the laughs and conversations with the clients. There is never a dull moment! 

Helping others feel great about themselves 

My job makes a difference to others. We can provide a friendly chat in a welcoming and comfortable environment and a visit can automatically brighten up their day. 

Many clients may only leave the house to visit the hairdressers, meaning they will only speak to their hairdressers that day. Not only do they appreciate the finished look, but often the social interaction and knowing they can be heard and understood has a huge impact. 

Support from my employer 

I am supported by the best colleagues who help me learn from my mistakes and maintain a positive mindset. Not only does it benefit my social and communication skills, but it also benefits the client’s day, starting it off with a positive visit. 

Support from Realise 

While training with Realise, I received tons of support from my assessor, Nicola Wilkinson. 

This included one-to-one meetings, support with my theory work and monthly visits to the salon to see my practical achievements and progression. 

Nicola also provided me with the resources to improve upon my qualification, including workbooks for each chapter of the theory side, and equipment such as dolls heads and brushes for the practical aspect. 

My favourite part of the training was when my assessor would visit me in the salon. It allowed me to demonstrate my progression and strengths, but it also was an opportunity to get constructive feedback on the areas I needed to improve, allowing me to go on to perfect them. 

Overall, the training gave me more confidence to reach my targets and pursue them. 

Advice to others considering apprenticeships in hair 

If anyone is thinking of undertaking an apprenticeship, I would highly recommend it. You learn on the job, build up your clientele day-by-day, and develop your social skills. 

With support from Realise and your colleagues, it is a great way of learning and soon you will be putting yourself out there more than you ever have before!   

If you are looking to build your own hairdressing career, then check out our hairdressing and barbering apprenticeships.

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