As a specialist awarding body, we are proud of all the centres that deliver our qualifications and share our commitment to giving learners the skills they need to succeed. So we asked Mike Taylor from Mike Taylor Education to share how his multi-award-winning organisation became a household name for UK barbering qualifications.
It’s an honour to win an award. And it’s an even bigger honour to win two awards in one night, as well as taking home the award for Best Training Provider for several years running. Mike Taylor Education completed that feat by winning awards for Best Training Provider and Best Business Leader at the Modern Barber Awards this year.
The Modern Barber Awards are the dedicated awards platform for the UK barbering industry to celebrate their creative and commercial successes. Competition is fierce with hundreds of entries each year, culminating in an awards night honouring finalists from across the industry. This year, VTCT centre Mike Taylor Education won awards for Best Training Provider and Best Business Leader. “It feels amazing to be recognised for these categories because we put everything into our training and making sure our students go on to get great work opportunities afterwards. We’ve done that for many years so it also feels good for us to be recognised,” says Mike, “You don’t know how your entry is going to be received when you’re sending it out but it was received very well by the judges and it feels good to know you’re doing the right thing.”
Mike Taylor Education was established over a decade ago, but Mike’s passion for barbering traces back to his teens. At school, he realised that the academic career path was not the right fit for him. A careers advisor took the time to listen to him and realised that barbering may be something that might be interesting to him. “The careers advisor did right by me and really listened to my interests. They put me in touch with a local hairdresser and organised some work experience and from there my career started. I’ve never looked back and loved it ever since.” Explains Mike.
However, Mike Taylor Education is more than just Mike. He makes it clear that the reason the organisation is so great is because of the entire team behind him, including his fantastic partnership with his wife. While he uses his technical skills to deliver ground-breaking barbering courses, his wife is in the background heading up operations to ensure the business is thriving.
Coincidentally, his venture into teaching and the growth of his award-winning barbering team began from extremely practical beginnings – he needed more staff for his shop. “The reason I got into teaching was very simple and was that I needed more staff. I have taught so many people and I know so many people from the industry through teaching. It’s just been so rewarding. Now that I have 10 barbershops, it also really helps me to get the right staff.” Says Mike.
And Mike agrees that the key to developing young, enthusiastic professionals into talented barbers is great training. But what is the secret to Mike Taylor Education’s multi-award winning barbering courses?
“You can’t learn a practical skill like barbering unless you have the clients to practice on. I have always said client is king.”
Mike Taylor Education has built up a substantial client base to enable every student to get the required practice time they need to succeed. They pride themselves on their quality of teaching by making sure they only take enough students they can guarantee clients for. “That’s what’s important to us. If you take on too many students, you can make more money but they won’t get the right amount of service teaching and clients. You have their life in your hands so it’s your responsibility to make sure learners come and leave ready to get a job. That’s what we do so well and that’s why we always get 100% satisfaction in our reviews.”
For Mike, the most rewarding part of being a training provider is watching a learner’s confidence grow and seeing the transformation that can happen when a student perseveres. “We had a 10-week course and I had four students on it. A couple of days in, some of the learners were really struggling. I didn’t know if they were going to make it through.” Recounts Mike. He’s an advocate of the fact that training can take an eager beginner to a fully-fledged barbering professional in as little as 10 weeks – the only requirement is passion and commitment. “It was so hard and so draining for them but by the end of the course, they had all got jobs and had Instagram accounts full of their amazing work. That’s the kind of transformation that can happen in a short period of time with the right training and someone eager to learn.”
We asked Mike to tell us any standout moments from his illustrious career. His reply? “Picking up the Modern Barber award!”