We are all aware of the crisis occurring with apprenticeships, but we really wanted to delve into WHY this is happening? We previously discussed neurodiversity being a necessity within apprentice programs, but how about we talk about the other factors creating this crisis:


The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) is calling on the entire hair and beauty industry to pull together to tackle the skills and recruitment crisis in our industry.  

These threats to the future of the hair world have been identified in a new report titled, Careers at the cutting edge: tackling the skills shortage in the hair and beauty sector, commissioned by the NHBF from Pragmatix Advisory.

The report highlights multiple interlinked factors that have been steadily growing over time:

  • Many are familiar with the fall in the number of apprentices coming into the industry over the last five years due to 16-17 year-olds having to stay at school, the rise in self-employment (meaning fewer employers to take on apprentices) and lower levels of funding. Worryingly, if current trends continue, the report forecasts that there will be fewer than 3,400 hair and beauty apprentices in the UK by 2025.
  • Employers are concerned that college leavers lack ‘salon ready’ skills and that the knowledge of some tutors is out of date.
  • The report shows that 57% of hair and beauty businesses have unfilled vacancies, and more than half of vacancies have taken businesses over 16 weeks to fill. Some experienced staff are leaving the sector, in some cases, to go to better paid roles elsewhere including other parts of retail.
  • Financial pressures on businesses are still high following the pandemic. Rising business costs such as National Insurance contributions, National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, as well as the huge increase in energy costs, means employers are cutting other costs wherever they can. Almost half of those who took part in the survey think that it can take two to three years in the salon before a college graduate covers their costs, and so are unwilling to take any on at this present time 

SO these are just some clear STATS – let’s take a look at some quotes from those in the industry: 

Jo Hall states how she navigates apprentices: ‘When taking on an apprentice, you will gain a lot as you see their growth while you help this young person fall in love with the hair and beauty industry. It is a very fulfilling thing to do!I like my apprentices, I concentrate on the clients’ happiness and I give them bullet points to use in the consultation, at the shampoo basin or during a manicure. Then, I take time to praise them when they use these bullet points and we evaluate the level of happiness they have created with the salon clientele. We have team huddles and 1:2:1 meetings to offer pointers and give them role play opportunities if they need them.’

Linda Stewart, owner and founder of Rainbow Room International: ‘Social media is a key platform for us to speak to young people and engage with them on a daily basis. When we are looking to recruit apprentices, we always make sure we promote this on all our social media platforms, posting great visual content on how to apply for our apprenticeship programmes. Our social media platforms are also a great way for us to show young people how we are a great company to work for, what events we get involved with and the awards we win.’ 


&, KIT CLIENT Conor James Doyle

‘I’ve been talking to people who work with young people are so aware and have such a higher standard of what they want their work-life to be that the first few years of an apprenticeship don’t seem appealing to them both financially and satisfactory. So it really does come down to then, you know, only the people that really, really want to be hairdressers.  I think the like hyperinflation that we’re facing and the uncertainty in the future and present means that people don’t have time to go onto apprentice wages, even though they are higher than what they were before. I think people don’t have the time or tolerance to go into those because they are like, well, I won’t be able to afford to have an apartment. The standard of which people are looking to work in of that generation, I think is higher. And ultimately it just is a bit of a turn-off when they think, I will not be able to maybe afford an apartment in years if I’m not that good at this.’


We would love to hear your thoughts on this, drop us a DM on Instagram if you are open to chat.


By Sophia Collins