What is life REALLY like as hairdressing apprentice and how can the industry best support the next generation of talent? Ellie Mighall of The Hair Salon in Brighton shares her experience of entering the hairdressing world
“Hello! I’m Ellie, a 19 year old junior stylist at The Hair Salon. I first entered the hairdressing industry in September of 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic. I jumped straight into the hairdressing world and was a full-time Level 2 hairdressing student at college. This was a very difficult time to learn, and it limited my opportunities. I was shown how to perm through video calls, couldn’t work on physical clients and my course was cut short. However, I didn’t let this stop me from becoming a hairdresser. I practiced and practiced until I ticked off my Level 2 criteria.
Even though I had a Level 2 diploma, I felt like it didn’t reflect what I had learnt. I’d never been shown a full-head of highlights, hair ups or any layered haircuts.
This realisation helped me decide an apprenticeship was the right route for my Level 3 qualification. Let me tell you, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I started my Level 3 qualification in July 2021 with the team at The Hair Salon in Hove. Once I started working at the salon, I realised how different the environment was from a college setting. I had education sessions every Tuesday and would go to a college specifically for hair every Thursday to complete my assessments. It was so interesting to watch the stylists work in the salon and take away certain techniques to practice myself. Doing an apprenticeship also taught me how to talk to clients and complete a thorough consultation. It’s given me so much confidence and has decreased my social anxiety massively.
Three years later and I’ve just passed my Level 3 qualification. It’s been a hard few years trying to catch up with everything I missed from Level 2, while also completing my Level 3. During these three years, I’ve learnt what I’m best at and what inspires me. I’m a big fan of colour, specifically blondes, coppers and vivids. I also love blunt cutting, especially a blunt bob. I’m getting more clients request this, and I’m very happy to create them in the salon.
I’m very grateful for The Hair Salon team – they’ve shown me their ways and helped me become the stylist I am today. Their constant love and support has really helped me along the way. I’m now a junior stylist at The Hair Salon and I can’t wait to get more into the hairdressing industry in the years to come. Going forward, I want to build my clientele and gain more experience. I’m going to attend more education sessions and hairdressing events to grow my knowledge. My main aim is to become freelance and run my own business. I like the freedom of deciding my own prices, hours etc.”
In our most recent On The Floor study, Creative HEAD conducted an apprenticeships special, which delves deeper into life as a hairdressing apprentice in the industry. For exclusive access to the full report, head to Salon Smart HUB.