[Updated] The benefits of taking on a beauty salon apprentice
National Apprenticeship Week 2022 (February 7–13) is well underway – a week-long celebration of apprenticeships in all sectors of business. The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) shares an update of the latest apprenticeship changes, the financial incentives available for salon owners, and the changing pay rates to look out for.
“Growing your own in-house talent, offering someone a great opportunity, and bringing new energy, creativity and ideas to your beauty business are just some of the great reasons to take on an apprentice,” says Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF.
What apprenticeship changes should I be aware of?
In England, employer-led beauty professional apprenticeship “Trailblazer” standards have been developed. The apprenticeship frameworks in beauty have been phased out. However, they are still available in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
These Trailblazer standards are broader and include making apprentices much more job-ready by the end of their programme.
There are five beauty professional apprenticeships to choose from – three at Level 2 and two at Level 3:
- Beauty Therapy (Level 2)
- Nail Technician (Level 2)
- Beauty and Make-up Consultancy (Level 2)
- Advanced Beauty Therapist (Level 3)
- Wellbeing and Holistic Therapist (Level 3).
They’ve been developed by the beauty apprenticeship steering group and beauty employers to ensure apprentices gain the level of knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need to work well in a beauty salon.
Apprentices must spend 20% of their time completing off-the-job training – this is one day per week for full-time apprentices. Note: English and Maths cannot be included as part of the 20% off-the-job training.
Apprenticeship standards include a one-day end-point assessment, similar to a driving test or skills test. An external assessor carries this out from an end-point assessment organisation to ensure impartiality, quality, and consistency. The assessor cannot be the apprentice’s employer or anyone involved in their training.
Qualifications from regulated awarding organisations are available to support on-programme learning within the apprenticeship. However, within the Level 3 standards, the qualifications are not mandatory. Merit and distinction grades are available for beauty apprentices who excel in their apprenticeship end-point assessment.
What financial incentives are available for hiring an apprentice?
Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice in England have been increased. Employers will now receive £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship (apprenticeship start dates from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022).
Applications close on May 15, 2022. The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 employers already receive for hiring an apprentice aged 16-18 and an apprentice under 25 with an education, health and care plan, or who has been in the care of their local authority.
To receive the payment, you must submit an application for each eligible apprentice using your Apprenticeship service account. Find out more about the apprenticeship funding on the Government website.
Apprenticeship levy and funding for beauty salons
Employers who have a pay bill of more than £3 million per year will have to pay the apprenticeship levy, amounting to 0.5% of the pay bill, into a pot which is ring-fenced for apprenticeship training.
Pay rates for beauty apprentices: don’t be caught out
Remember: apprenticeship pay will go up from £4.30 to £4.81 in April 2022, but don’t be caught out – an apprentice over the age of 19 who is in the second year of their apprenticeship must be paid the age-appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW)/ National Living Wage (NLW).
Employers who underpay can be fined up to £20,000 and can be publicly “named and shamed” by the Government.
The NHBF is the UK’s largest trade body for businesses working in the hair, beauty and barbering industries. As part of its work, it provides specialist business support, advice and back-up to nail and beauty salons.