Kerry Blois is owner of Diamond Beauty Salon, based in Rochford, Essex. As a successful business owner, she knows the qualities and characteristics that are required to be successful in the industry. This knowledge, combined with a desire to help shape someone’s future, led her to start offering apprenticeships. That first year, she saw 40-50 young women apply for an apprenticeship in her salon. There was one position available.
Seven years later and Kerry’s passion and commitment to helping others is as fierce as ever. Her passion for beauty began when she was 10 years old and she continues to be inspired by the opportunities available through Beauty Therapy; sharing; “I’m always studying and reading up as the industry is ever-evolving. This has always been my dream and I love that I get to live it; there are always opportunities to help people.”
Diamond Beauty Salon currently has 3 apprentices of varying experience working alongside seasoned experts. Each week, learners spend one 7-hour day in college and the rest of their 40 hour week is spent in the salon, learning whilst working. If someone is brand new with little or no previous experience, there are still several tasks they will start doing in week one, like setting-up for a treatment, packing down afterwards, pre or aftercare, practising interpersonal communication skills in reception or working through a consultation. Kerry and her team make sure that apprentices start learning and practising these things from week one, gaining valuable hands-on experience from the start. She said “We give them quite a lot of responsibility and expect them to learn a lot of what the senior staff know. They will shadow other members of the salon staff and are treated as adults. We give them jobs to do so they know we trust them and they are a valued member of the team.”
Over the years, there have been many apprentices working at Diamond Beauty Salon. That first apprentice, who earned the highly sought after position seven years ago, now works as Head of Education in the salon. And like her, many of the apprentices have continued to work at Diamond Beauty; if they haven’t stayed on it’s because they’ve gone on to open their own salon. This is a compliment to Kerry and her team, demonstrating the impressive level of business acumen gained by their apprentices that they are ready to start a business. “We help them to see the whole puzzle and know what is required to make things successful. It’s not just about the treatments, but they learn everything about how the salon runs including things like invoicing and inventory/stock management.”
There are many advantages gained by those undertaking apprenticeships. When asked about why someone should choose an apprenticeship, Kerry said “It’s a good way to get a job. You have references and a portfolio of work when you finish your apprenticeship. Our apprentices have grown in their confidence and abilities and when they complete the programme they also have a clientele they’ve established over the past 12 months.”
Kerry commented “Some might be hesitant to do an apprenticeship as the wage is lower while on their course of study, but you are actually being paid to learn. When you complete the apprenticeship you end up on the same wage as your peers completing similar qualifications. However, you will have grown in confidence as you know what the expectations are in the salon and your experience will put you ahead of the game.”
For other employers considering doing apprenticeships Kerry advises “Absolutely do it. There is no reason not to. No matter the age, apprentices have made the decision to invest in their future. They are sometimes more motivated than higher-paid staff as they know they are working their way up in the organisation.”