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Debut Academy share Apprenticeship success secrets – National Apprenticeship Week

There is truly no better reward for a training provider than when they see their highly skilled, enthusiastic and capable apprentices continuing to succeed year after year. This is one way in which VTCT apprenticeship training provider, Debut Training Academy, knows they’ve been successful—when they see one of their passionate apprentices that they once trained return to the Academy as a salon owner that is now seeking to hire apprentices to work for them in their salon. Zoe Jones, Apprenticeship Manager at the Debut Academy expressed, “It is wonderful to see this and really confirms to us that we are achieving our goals. This is the whole point of training our learners and making sure they obtain the success they deserve in their careers. When we see our learners make this full 360, it is a very proud moment for us.”

Debut Academy first began in 1999 as a tanning salon in Wickford High Street. Spotting a demand in the market for more holistic beauty treatments, Debut soon expanded to provide Nail and Beauty Treatments. Now, the organisation runs a training academy offering innovative and exciting learning opportunities where prospective beauticians can develop their skills. They’ve maintained a high standard of teaching while keeping classes small and creating a very personal experience for each individual who passes through their doors.

In their role as a training provider, they have now guided over 250 students into employment. They pride themselves on the ability to shape someone’s career and enjoy the rewarding experience of watching their apprentices blossom into confident, competent therapists every year. Debut’s Managing Director draws on her experience of having had apprentices in her salons to shape their delivery. It has given the organisation a strong foundation for better understanding as to what an employer, and an apprentice, really need, not only in their training but also in the support required to succeed in the apprenticeship.

Zoe shared, “All the staff who work within our training academy have been learners themselves at one time or another. They have all worked their way up in each of their fields and found their passion is to share their knowledge with others who want to build a career in beauty, nails, hair or makeup.”

Debut Learner and Salon Manager Kaylee talks about her experience


Speaking about how their time at Debut Academy has impacted them, one of their learners said, “I’ve enjoyed my experience at Debut Academy. They have helped me achieve my goals and improve my confidence working in a salon. Throughout my apprenticeship, I’ve seen vast improvements in my work.”

So, how have the learners at Debut Academy continued to flourish despite the current Coronavirus pandemic? They have relied on Debut’s ability to quickly adapt to the circumstance thus ensuring that the heart of their organisation – their learners – continue to succeed safely despite the ongoing health crisis. We spoke to one of these learners about their experience and they said, “Debut enabled my nail course to continue despite the pandemic by adapting my lessons to be done via Zoom. When we were finally able to complete our EPA, they made sure everyone followed all the guidelines rigorously and that we were prepared for all the adaptions we needed to make. My tutors visited me throughout my course which ultimately guided me to become a better nail technician with their advice. They taught me so many different techniques.”

One challenge Debut Training Academy faces is ensuring apprentices are prepared to meet every individual client’s specific needs. The beauty industry is constantly evolving, and as such, a training provider should instil a positive attitude in their learners so they welcome and embrace change. Additionally, they also prepare their learners by equipping them with the latest techniques and current trends and remind them to set achievable goals.

Zoe advises, “Wherever you are in your journey, it is important you are prepared to push yourself and put everything into your career.” With a positive approach, dedication and passion, learners have the opportunity to not only become highly capable apprentices but also to build a like-minded community. One Debut learner shared, “I thoroughly enjoyed my course. My teachers were super friendly and helpful. They made sure I understood everything perfectly before moving on. My course mates and I have had the opportunity to watch each other grow and built strong friendships. I’d like to thank Debut for everything they have taught me.”


We’d like to leave you with the seven “Do’s” shared by Debut as they are important for every apprentice to remember:

  • Embrace This Opportunity – it is really important that you work hard and do your best, always give 100%. Make sure your employer realises that their company needs you and can’t live without you.
  • Ask Questions – if you are ever unsure of anything please just ask. Your training provider is always here for you if you need help.
  • Be Professional – this is your main job as a therapist, to be professional at all times. This includes the way you look, the way you speak, and the way you act at work.
  • Be Friendly – treat your peers, your clients and everyone with respect. Always be friendly with a smile.
  • Be Enthusiastic – always make yourself useful and when you have finished a task, ask if there is anything else you can do.
  • Use Your Initiative – your employer will be happy if you get on with jobs that you think need doing, without always being asked.
  • Have fun – if you enjoy what you do this will really shine through and everyone will be happy to have you around.