The benefits of taking on a beauty salon apprentice

“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 Hilary Hall, CEO of the NHF, which offers beauty salon owners a wide range of business and legal support services.

Apprenticeship changes

In England, new employer-led beauty professional apprenticeship Trailblazer standards are being developed. Eventually the current “framework” beauty apprenticeships will be phased out. 

The new Trailblazer standards will include a wider range of skills, making apprentices much more “salon-ready” by the end of their programmes. There will be three beauty professional apprenticeships to choose from: 

George Hammer, chair of the Trailblazer steering group, says: “We’re really excited about the brand-new beauty professional apprenticeships and we know there will be massive demand from employers when the new standards become available.”

Diane Hey, employer champion from the Trailblazer steering group, added: “It’s been a long process getting the standards approved, but we’re expecting good news any day now and thank all those who have supported the journey. It will then be great to focus on helping employers and training providers prepare for the launch.”

What’s different? 

Trailblazer apprenticeships include an end-point assessment, carried out by someone who is not the learner’s employer and who is not involved in their training. 

The standards will be supported by a new qualification, the Diploma for Beauty Professionals (also under development), which will help learners prepare for success in their end-point assessment. And distinction grades will be available for beauty apprentices who really excel. 

“Grab a grand” if you take on a young apprentice

Once the new standards are in place, Trailblazer funding will apply. The funding available is not yet known as this is determined as part of the approval process for Trailblazer standards. 

“But we do know that incentive payments will be on offer,” says Hilary. “If you have fewer than 50 employees, you and your training provider will each receive £1,000 for each 16–18-year-old apprentice you take on. This also applies to 19–24-year-olds who have been in care or have a local authority care plan.” 

The downside is that for salons taking on older apprentices, while the Government will contribute 90% of the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment, employers will be expected to contribute 10%.

Find out more about the funding on the Gov.uk website.

Apprenticeship levy and funding for beauty salons 

Employers who have a pay bill of more than £3 million a 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: apprentice rates will rise from £3.50 to £3.70 an hour from April 2018. An apprentice aged 19 or over can only be paid at the apprentice rate for the first year of their programme after which they must get the National Minimum Wage appropriate for their age. 

Employers who underpay can be fined up to £20,000 and publicly ‘named and shamed’ by the Government.

Find out how developing apprentices has boosted one salon owner’s business.

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