George Hammer outlines plans for beauty apprenticeships review

Urban Retreat chief executive George Hammer aims to create a programme for apprentices that makes it more worthwhile for salons to take them on, as part of his role as chair of the Government’s trailblazer group for the beauty industry.

Beauty therapy is part of the second wave of the Government’s trailblazers initiative, which is designed to develop more employer-led standards for apprenticeships and help young people gain more relevant training.

Hammer told Professional Beauty that one of the biggest hurdles is that logistically, it is harder to employ apprentices in beauty salons than in hair salons, because you “can’t have an apprentice standing in the corner watching a massage”.

However, he says this needs to change so employers see the benefit of apprentices.

“We want to create a job description of what apprentices can do in a salon – a list of simple, on-the-floor services such as make-up, head massage or nails that they can do, then the room services like massage, which need to be taught differently,” Hammer said.

Alongside Urban Retreat, other employers in the group include Saks’ managing director Stephen Kee and head of education Tina Rook, De Vere Hotels’ Emma Leadbeater, Maria Mason of Beauty Time salon in Bristol and the UK Spa Association’s Charlie Thompson. Hellen Ward, managing director at Richard Ward Hair and Metrospa, is the chair of the hairdressers trailblazers group.

The work is being supported by industry bodies including Habia and Babtac. Habia’s group director of qualifications and standards Stuart Turner said he was pleased to see service industries represented in the Government initiative.

Hammer described the initiative as a massive opportunity for the industry to create meaningful qualifications. “It is about ensuring employers can be confident apprentices have the basic skills they need, so making them vastly more attractive as future employees,” he said.

This story first appeared in the April issue of Professional Beauty magazine. To make sure you're first to read exclusive news, subscribe for £37 a year for print issues, or just £4.99 a year for 12 full digital issues.