When the new hair apprenticeship standards were introduced in 2017, they brought with them a new way of working. The graded End Point Assessment replaced the previous competency-based assessments, or SASE Frameworks, which changed the way apprenticeships are delivered.
Some providers took the plunge early on, and VTCT has recently seen these early adopters of the Hair Professional for hairdressing and barbering begin to put their apprentices through the End-point Assessment (EPA) process.
SAKs Apprenticeships undertook a round of EPAs, and they have cause to celebrate with the news that one of their apprentices has achieved their very first perfect score for SAKs in his EPA.
George Lawrence started working at Gershwin’s Barbers in Chatham when he was 14 years old. He used to practice hot towel shaves on his dad to help develop his skills before he was able to leave school and begin his apprenticeship.
Although he didn’t enjoy school, George showed determination and the will to work hard. He says: “I wanted to learn, but be able to work too, so a SAKs apprenticeship was ideal for me. It didn’t feel like I was learning because I was enjoying what I did, and getting paid.”
He enjoyed the chance to be creative, adding patterns and lines to his cuts, and his flair and style paid off in competition. He’s previously won awards including Apprentice Barber of the Year and Young Barber of the year.
Nicola Payne of Gershwin’s says they decided to start taking on apprentices because it allowed the business to build talent from scratch.
“It not only helps the learner, but us also as they build their own clientele whilst learning, which then helps them when their exams are finished as they already have a good clientele base.”
Nicola praised George’s Tutor, Sarah Papper, of SAKs Education for the excellent help and support she provided throughout the apprenticeship. Sarah has worked in the industry for some time and has always felt that education is “the backbone of the industry”.
She continues: “I always try to remember how I felt as an apprentice and can recall feeling panic when I had to attempt a service that I had little knowledge or practise in. I also remember being too afraid to ask for help. It is so important for my learners to understand that they are learning and as such, must ask as many questions as possible. They must practise not only the skills they find easy but those that they find challenging, to push themselves and go outside their comfort zone.”
Sarah says that practical skills are of course essential, but only part of the story when it comes to training. It is key to learn the theory too and to explain why something is done. She also stresses the importance of attention to detail in all aspects of the service.
Nicola believes that enthusiasm and confidence are also keys to success: “Confidence grows with experience so the more you attempt to push your boundaries the more your confidence grows”.
And George? He’s proud of what he has achieved: “It goes to show what I can achieve when I put my mind to it.”
It is clear that with a combination of hard work, great support and communication, apprenticeships can be a resounding success.
To find out more about delivering VTCT apprenticeships, please visit our Apprenticeships page