16 May 2014



Hairdressers, barbers, nail technicians, beauty and spa therapists are being urged to get involved and express their views about the industry’s vision for new-look employer-led apprenticeships.

The first draft of new “trailblazer” standards are being published today [Friday May 16], and are being accompanied by an online survey, running on the Habia and NHBF websites, to gain views and feedback from employers across the hair and beauty sector.

The standards have been developed by a strategic group of 10 individual trailblazer hair, beauty and barbering salons or salon chains, plus specialist working groups, supported by the industry standards-setting body Habia and the National Hairdressers’ Federation.

The intention is the new standards will be agreed with the government and “signed off” by June 16, so Hellen Ward, managing director of Richard Ward Hair and Metrospa, who is leading the strategic group on hairdressing, urged employers to read the standards, get involved and make their views known.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create apprenticeship standards that really work for our industry, so I strongly encourage all employers to take the time to sit down and read through our draft document carefully. It is vital people provide feedback to ensure we get this process right for employers and for all the young people keen to come into our great industry,” she said.

George Hammer, chairman of beauty salon Urban Retreat, who is leading the strategic group for beauty, added: “The government has set a timetable for new standards for our industry to be in place and being delivered by May next year. That shows ministers are really committed to driving this process forward, but it also means we have to move fast to grasp this opportunity. I strongly urge everyone to feed into the process and tell us what they think.”

The government’s ambition is to develop apprenticeships that can be explained on a single sheet of A4, work for both small and large businesses and which, crucially, will include relevant, practical testing and grading at the end of the training. 

The industry’s trailblazer group was launched in March, and is one of two waves of trailblazer employers across a variety of sectors working to develop and introduce new standards and structures for apprenticeships during 2015/16 and 2016/17.

A link to the online surveys can be found below It will be open until the 28th May.

Hair standard - employers


Hair standard – training providers


 Beauty standard – employers


 Beauty standard – training providers


The NHBF and Habia are jointly hosting three free events for employers over the next week to explain the draft standards and the principles behind them. These will take place on:

  • Monday 19 May from 5.30 to 7pm – Poulton-le-Fylde Lancashire
  • Tuesday 20 May from 5.30 to 7pm – West Smithfield, London
  • Wednesday 21 May from 5.30 to 7pm – Nottingham

Anyone interested in attending should book their place at: www.nhf.info/events

Stuart Turner, group director of qualifications and standards for Habia, said: “The trailblazer process is committed to ensuring employers have the opportunity to shape the future of apprenticeships. So please do take the time to read the standards and feed your views back through the online survey.”

NHBF chief executive Hilary Hall added: “It is absolutely vital to the continuing health of our industry that we have a pipeline of relevantly trained and skilled apprentices coming on to salon floors. This is your opportunity to make sure the trailblazer standards do just that.”

The trailblazer work is supported by a wide range of other industry organisations, including the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, the Hairdressing Council, the British Barbers’ Association and British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC).