17 September 2013

The National Hairdressers’ Federation has today urged Habia and awarding bodies in the hair and beauty industry to come together to create a hairdressing and barbering apprenticeship that provides consistency of training and leaves youngsters “salon ready”. 

The call has come as part of the NHBF’s response to a consultation by Habia, the sector skills body for the hair, beauty, nails and spa industry, on its review of “national occupational standards” for apprenticeships within hairdressing and barbering. 

The NHBF has made a range of recommendations as to how these could be improved but is urging Habia and awarding bodies to work together more closely to ensure there is consistency across the UK in how the standards are delivered on the ground in future. 

Qualification design, including how many credits units carry and at what level, whether units are optional or mandatory and even assessment methods could all lack consistency, it has warned, if there is not proper, meaningful collaboration and co-ordination between Habia and awarding bodies. 

The NHBF is currently leading a pan-industry “expert reference group” that is developing a blueprint for a new, employer-led apprenticeship qualification, and has long argued apprenticeships need to be more focused on giving young people the practical skills they need on the salon floor.                                                                                                                                               

Make apprentices ‘salon ready’, says NHBF 

NHBF president Mark Coray said: “Salon owners need to know what a trainee has covered on their course and what their qualification actually means. I urge everyone – our industry, training providers, awarding bodies, Habia and the government – to get behind what we’re doing through our expert reference group. What we need is a standard, rigorous apprenticeship qualification that employers can have confidence in.” 

“Unless Habia and the awarding organisations pull together, training provision in our industry could become a complete lottery. You could have two young people with, on paper, the same qualification but, in reality, completely different skills or competencies depending on where they did their training or which awarding body their provider chose. That’s just not good enough,” he added. 

The NHBF is also working with the government on its proposals to reform apprenticeship funding models, and has strongly backed calls by ministers for apprenticeships to become much more employer-led and driven. 

The NHBF’s submission to the Habia consultation can be viewed online at www.nhf.info/education