National Apprenticeship Week: You’re Hired!

Five first-hand accounts of how a hairdressing apprenticeship helps shape a career

Daniel Galvin is one of London’s most iconic hairdressing brands – a home to world-class hairdressers who’ve been trained to offer the very best in colour and styling to a glossy, wealthy clientele that includes royalty, pop stars and celebrities (the late Diana, Princess of Wales, was probably the most famous, although Madonna might disagree!).

Owner Daniel Galvin OBE, a pioneer in hair colour and a legend in his field since the swinging Sixties, still personally oversees the in-house training of new recruits, helping to shape a team that operates at the very top of their game – with rewards to match. To mark National Apprenticeship Week, we caught up with operations director at the salon, Stephen Nurse (pictured right), and five former Daniel Galvin apprentices whose careers are truly going places!

Stephen Nurse, operations director at Daniel Galvin
Stephanie Facer, former hairdressing apprentice at Daniel Galvin

STEPHANIE FACER

Age employment commenced:16
Current age:
27
Length of employment: 12 years

Why hairdressing?
Ever since I was young I have always wanted to do hairdressing. In primary school I would always braid hair and my love for it went from there.

And why an apprenticeship?
When I was in Year 10 at school, my family hairdresser recommended that I do my work experience at Daniel Galvin. That’s when I found out about the apprenticeship scheme and it seemed like a win-win!

What were the good bits about your apprenticeship?
I absolutely loved all of it! Every day was different! Meeting celebrities and other incredible people! Working on London Fashion Week! Britain’s Next Top Model! Photo-shoots! Also, having one-to-one training, which really helped boost my knowledge and allowed me to work alongside some of the best hairdressers in London in the biggest salon in London. What more could you want?

And the not-so-good bits?
The early mornings and late nights… Sometimes I wouldn’t get home until gone 10pm. But that’s just what you had to do. Also, it took some getting used to standing on your feet for over 10 hours every day!

What has a career in hairdressing enabled you to do with your life?
It’s helped me make a successful living for myself, travel the world and I am now a home-owner. I count myself very lucky!

Looking back, do you think doing an apprenticeship has enabled you to make a bigger success of you career?
Yes! It definitely put me on the right path. Also, working in London and having the London lifestyle made me more confident and outgoing.

What advice do you have for someone considering hairdressing as a career?
Make sure you look at your options. Visit salons and get a vibe for where you want to work and what they can offer. I’m lucky because Daniel Galvin is the only salon I have ever worked in and 13 years later I still love it. Get yourself out there! Hard work pays off.

Stephanie is one of the most hard-working, dedicated members of the team. She developed a passion and flair for extensions that’s resulted in a very large number of her clients having huge amounts of the most luxurious hair! She always wants to improve and gives 110 per cent to her loyal and dedicated client base. Stephen Nurse, operations director, Daniel Galvin
Saskiia Marshall, former hairdressing apprentice at Daniel Galvin

SASKIIA MARSH

Age employment commenced:21
Current age:
30
Length of employment: 10 years

Why did you choose hairdressing as a career?
I’ve always been artistic and I thought being a colourist would allow me to use my creative skills.

And why did you choose to train as an apprentice, rather than in college?
The training in-salon is more in-depth and technical. It’s a more realistic approach to life as a qualified colourist. I assisted Daniel Galvin for two-and-a-half years of my training, so I learnt a lot from him. I also got to travel to Kuwait to colour a princess’s hair!

Any downsides to an apprenticeship?
The hours are hard to get used to. Being 16, I was used to a school day, rather than 12 hours standing on my feet!

What happened once you’d completed your apprenticeship?
I qualified at 19 then worked hard to move up to the senior colour director role I have now. The salon also sponsored me to complete the L’Oréal Colour Specialist Degree, which was a career boost. But the real highlight was being chosen to travel with Daniel to Japan to participate in shows and educational seminars. It was so exciting!

What do you love about hairdressing?
I enjoy teaching the juniors – I would love to continue to inspire the younger generation. Hairdressing has made me a much more confident person because I have to interact with different clients every day. It has also influenced me to change my looks over the years with all different colours and styles.

Saskiia sparkled from day one. It was clear she was incredibly artistic and creative, and the discipline of structured training within the apprenticeship program allowed her to progress and express her artistry. She is a key member of the education team, has a large influential client base and is currently working at 80 per cent plus capacity levels.Stephen Nurse, operations director, Daniel Galvin
Chelsey Barraclough, former hairdressing apprentice at Daniel Galvin

CHELSEY BARRACLOUGH

Age employment commenced: 19
Current age:
29
Length of employment: 11 years

What attracted you to hairdressing as a career?
It was always something I enjoyed and it’s creative. Textbooks and computers never interested me.

And why did you choose to train as an apprentice, rather than in college?
Firstly, you get paid while you’re learning – that was a major plus. Also, it’s more hands-on as you are working in a hair salon amongst clients.

What do you love about your career right now and what do you want to do more of in the future?
I love building relationships with clients and making them feel confident and happy with their hair. Also, I love helping the younger generation with colour choices and help guide them whenever they need it.

Do you think your apprenticeship has been integral to your success?
Absolutely. You learn on the job; working with clients from day one helps you mature and understand salon life from the start. It helped with my confidence and knowledge, which are two of the main things you need if you want to be a hair colourist.

What advice would you give to a 16-year-old considering their options?
I would say that an apprenticeship in hairdressing isn’t an easy choice, it’s long days and you’re on your feet for nearly all of it. So, it’s hard work but if you stick to it you will have a trade for life as everyone wants their hair done at some point. If you have the option of college or apprenticeship I’d choose the apprenticeship every time because the possibilities with in-salon training are endless.

Chelsey was initially quite shy but has the most incredible work ethic and commitment. She is very precise in everything she does and her attention to detail is second to none. She is a key component of the education team, commands a significant loyal and influential client base and is incredible busy within the salon.Stephen Nurse, operations director, Daniel Galvin
Heather Purton, former hairdressing apprentice at Daniel Galvin

HEATHER PURTON

Age employment commenced: 16
Current age:
26
Length of employment: 11 years

What made you choose hairdressing as a career?
I’ve always had a flair for and interest in hair. It’s always been something I’ve been interested in, along with art at school. I think it comes from having unruly, curly red hair growing up and having to learn to tame it!

Why did you choose the apprenticeship route, rather than studying hairdressing at college?
wanted real life experiences and I loved the idea of being in a work environment. Being at the heart of a busy salon atmosphere inspired and motivated me.

What were the good bits about your apprenticeship?
Being mentored by Daniel himself was so special. I made it my mission to run his fully booked days smoothly, multi-tasking client service and effectively being his PA. I got a buzz out of those days, they were character-building and helped make me the hairdresser I am today. Plus, I was fully NVQ qualified at a young age!

And the bad bits?
There were a lot of late nights perfecting skills. I constantly reminded myself that if it was easy, everybody would do it!

Describe your career path since completing your apprenticeship
I would say that an apprenticeship in hairdressing isn’t an easy choice, it’s long days and you’re on your feet for nearly all of it. So, it’s hard work but if you stick to it you will have a trade for life as everyone wants their hair done at some point. If you have the option of college or apprenticeship I’d choose the apprenticeship every time because the possibilities with in-salon training are endless.

Do you think doing an apprenticeship has enabled you to make a bigger success of you career?
One hundred per cent. Throwing myself into full-time working, learning on the job, creating a name for myself on the salon floor at a young age… that was the best way to keep me motivated and hungry to achieve more. It also means I now have a ‘hair family’ in the salon, who always put my best interests first and help me get what I want out of my career.

Heather’s natural flair enabled her to speed through her training and progress rapidly to becoming a Senior Colour Director. Her infectious and warm personality has made her incredibly popular, she is a key member of the education team and a go-to person for testing any new products brought to market.Stephen Nurse, operations director, Daniel Galvin
Jake Platt, former hairdressing apprentice at Daniel Galvin

JAKE PLATT

Age employment commenced: 17
Current age:
25
Length of employment:
9 years

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship to become a hairdresser, rather than going to college?
I loved the thought of meeting some of London’s most elite celebrity clients, plus I also wanted the hands-on experience of working on runway shows and photo-shoots – you rarely gain this from training in a college.

And how was it, in reality?
An apprenticeship requires a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed and will only suit those with a passion for hairdressing and a determination to meet the standards being asked of you.

What do you love about your career right now and what do you want to do more of in the future?
Hairdressing has allowed me to travel and experience places and people that I would never have otherwise. But the best part about the job is that clients become friends – it never seems to feel like work after that!

Looking back, do you think doing an apprenticeship has enabled you to make a bigger success of your career?
The apprenticeship gave me more career-boosting and networking opportunities, which I personally believe you only gain from working hands-on, rather than studying in a college.

What would you say about hairdressing to a 16-year-old who’s going through the process of working out future career/education paths?
I would say it’s a job with such potential, providing endless opportunities and experience at every step. But be sure you’re passionate about it, as it’s a lot of hard work at the beginning.

Jake possessed a natural flair for hairdressing plus he has an incredibly personal approach and a natural ability to look at each and every client as a true individual. He has a passion and real talent for men’s grooming and it’s very rare to find someone who is equally as comfortable with both male and female clients.Stephen Nurse, operations director, Daniel Galvin

All this week, you can explore more National Apprenticeship Week content over on The Industry, a unique information and inspiration hub designed to help show off the incredible opportunities a career in hair can bring.

There’s also exclusive member content available for FREE on the Salon Smart HUB, outlining how you can make the most of the current hairdressing apprenticeships set up.

Plus, if all the changes to entry-level hairdressing education have left you puzzled, catch up on what exactly T Levels are and what they mean for our industry in this comprehensive round up in partnership with education experts VTCT.

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