Government rejects formal qualification linked to beauty “trailblazer” apprenticeships

The Government has rejected plans put forward by employers to have a formal qualification linked to the new beauty “trailblazer apprenticeships” standards.

The beauty industry Trailblazer group, managed by hair and beauty industry authority Habia and made up of various beauty employers including Saks, Urban Retreat, and Richard Ward Hair and Metrospa, has been working to develop and design new apprenticeships standards with a formal qualification linked to them that is “fit for purpose”.

However, with the formal qualification rejected by Government, the Trailblazer group is now required to submit a new assessment plan, which they say “as you can imagine will take time”, meaning the apprentice and assessment standards will not be ready for delivery on May 1. 

This comes as a blow to the beauty industry after the apprenticeship standards for hair professionals were approved and published on the website in January.

Tina Rook, head of education at Saks Apprenticeships, said: “After years of working to develop the new standards for beauty apprenticeships, we’re incredibly disappointed that the qualification within these standards has been rejected; yet similar standards and the qualification has been accepted for hairdressing.

“We can only speculate about the repercussions of this qualification being rejected, resulting in there being no new standards ready for delivery in May. This could lead to job losses, complications for employer insurances and a dramatic slip in the quality of training.”

Saks Education is also urging employers to have their say in the future of the industry by sending a letter of support for an ”fit for purpose” qualification in Beauty Therapy, that can be quality checked by awarding organisations, to “Whom it may concern” at 55–59 Duke Street, Darlington, DL3 7SD or by emailing

Letters can also be sent to Habia at Styrrup Golf & Country Club, First Floor, Styrrup, DN11 8NB or by emailing

The standards were being hailed by employers as an important step forward in transforming how beauty apprenticeships will be trained and tested.

All apprentices currently signed up to beauty therapy apprenticeships do not need to worry as the current framework still applies.

Trailblazers are groups of employers responsible for setting apprenticeship standards in England – what they should know and be able to do before they are ready to work in beauty, barbering or hairdressing.