Hair & Beauty

The hair and beauty industry is wide ranging, those moving into it could be self-employed or work for a high-end salon, their place of work could be theatres, TV studios or their own homes.

Jobs in hairdressing

Hairdressers cut, colour and shape clients' hair to create the look they want. There are various routes into this career; people can train as a hairdresser either full-time or part-time at a college, or work as an apprentice, learning on the job and attending college on day release.

To become a hairdresser, customer service and 'people' skills are an essential, as well as creativity and an awareness of fashion. Those wanting to take their career in this direction also need a willingness to learn new techniques and methods. As a junior hairdresser, workers would carry out tasks like: greeting customers, shampooing hair, simple cutting, making sure towels and supplies are ready for use, and keeping the salon clean and tidy.

As a senior hairdresser, workers would talk to clients about how they want their hair done, and give them advice and suggest style ideas. Work would include: shampooing and conditioning, cutting and styling, colouring, perming or straightening. Senior hairdressers might also advise on minor hair and scalp problems, make appointments and handling payments, order materials,make sure that hair products containing chemicals are used and stored correctly.

Hairdressers could specialise in working with particular clients or techniques, for example in a men's barber shop or pressing, braiding and plaiting Afro-Caribbean hair.

Jobs in beauty

On the beauty side of the industry, there is just as much variety. From make up artists, waxing and tinting eyelashes/eyebrows, to nail technicians – specialising in gels, acrylics and trending nail art – there are many different types of services to offer. Beauticians could be doing bridal makeup one day and perfecting the ultimate eyebrow arch the next.

A beautician has the advantage of being basically recession-proof: there will most likely always be movies, commercials and photo shoots happening somewhere in the world, all needing make up artists. And, even when times are tough, people still seem willing to pay that little extra to look good on holiday or at their wedding, for example. With the demand for services and products mostly on the rise, it can be said that the beauty industry is here to stay.

Hair & beauty apprenticeships 

School leavers wanting to work in this sector could do an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) after taking their GCSEs, and train in roles like junior beauty therapist, beauty consultant and junior make-up artist.

They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in roles like beauty therapist, make-up artist and beauty massage therapist. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.

School leavers could also look at the hair and beauty courses on offer at further education college. 

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