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Apprenticeship Junior Stylist Program

There is a tremendous need for an on-the-job apprenticeship junior stylist training program for new hairdressers after graduating from beauty school. Unfortunately, lack of hands-on experience  on real customers is a major challenge facing employers when adding new members to your team.

With the new minimum wage and overtime laws, this makes our challenges more difficult.

Salon owners are struggling to find well trained professionals who are capable of meeting and exceeding higher levels of excellence in meeting high job market and consumer demands without compromising their client retention efforts.

Allowing young hairdressers gain valuable hands-on experience working on paying customers at regular prices by trial and error in today’s fragile economy is just too costly. Even worse  the threat of negative word of mouth publicity  affects not only your salon’s bottom line but also the livelihoods of your other experienced staff members as well. Losing just one customer and their family  over the course of the year  can be costly  and will compromise your client retention efforts, especially when you want to train and develop new young talent out of beauty school. Negative word of mouth publicity is the worst kind of advertising.

The growing need for more training in the areas of people skills development, customer service guidelines, client retention, improved people and communication skills , basic precision hair cutting skills, hands-on experience, better work habits, personal growth and development guidelines and much more, are essential to achieving higher levels of excellence. Hairdresser Career Development Systems was created to fill this educational void.

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Do Beauty schools adequately prepare young people to compete in a competitive job market?

It is important to note that beauty school curriculum is primarily designed to prepare students to pass their state board exam, and to protect the public health and safety of the consumer. In fairness to our beauty schools, nine months is just not enough time to teach young talent all the skills that will be necessary in meeting high job market and consumer demands, especially if they want to work in an upscale salon with upscale prices. Allowing young talent to learn on paying customers at regular prices with little or no hands-on experience is just unacceptable.

With the emergence of franchises at low cost, working on customers has forced many schools to practice on doll head

Grow and Develop Your Own Apprenticeship Training Program

Due to an absence of an apprenticeship or internship educational system, you will have to develop your own apprenticeship program that fits your own quality control standards. Hairdresser Career Development Systems is your partner in helping you design your own apprenticeship program that will take your business and staff to a higher level. I urge all salon owners to develop your own training program using my concepts as a guide that shares your high quality control standards.

Set High Hiring Standards 

Develop your own staff development program. Be very careful  who you add to your team. Please make sure who ever you hire share your goals and vision and are willing to adapt to your high quality control guidelines making sure they are compatible with your other staff members. A willingness to learn is a key prerequisite when adding a new member to my team. Team work is essential in growing any business, especially if you want to establish a positive and professional salon team environment.

Your Employee Handbook:

Once you make your hiring decision, your employee handbook should be the foundation to training and developing new talent. Review your terms of employment making sure they toughly understand what you expect as the newest member to your team… How can you expect your staff to perform if they do not know what is expected and how those expectations will be measured? Refer to my book Creating Your Salon. Read my chapter on Staff Development as a guide. I suggest you place your new member of your team on a 6 month probationary period to make sure they are compatible with your vision and are willing to adapt to your training and education guidelines.


The next step after you make your decision to hire your new staff member is to provide the educational tools which begins with salon orientation procedures. It is critical that you develop and educate your new team member by giving them the educational guidance to perform. In essence, clone yourself by teaching them all you know as their mentor.

Your first two weeks should focus on orientation procedures, such as customer handling procedures, telephone answering guideline, draping, reviewing Jon’s educational programs, customer communication, observations, shampooing, artistic guidelines etc. I urge you to review my educational programs and quiz them on the meaning of these programs. They are designed to help you establish strong work habits and positive attitudes that should be the foundation to employee training and development. My book A Hairdresser’s Guide to Success then quiz them on the contents and meaning of the book. It is designed to help your new member of your staff to establish strong work habits and positive attitudes that are essential if you are going to grow your team and business. This book can easily be used as your operations manual.  This procedure should require about two weeks at about 20 hours per week.

Gradually let them either assist you or your other staff members, so they can gradually get the feel of your salons quality control systems. Eventually they can do your shampoos, blow drying etc.

When they are not busy they can practice their perm wraps, sectioning and partings, and weaving techniques on doll heads. Once you feel comfortable with their development, you can elevate them to a junior stylist at reduced prices under the supervision of the owner, master stylist, or your director of education. A junior stylist program will allow you to gradually monitor your new staff member to make sure they understand your high quality control efforts with out compromising your client retention efforts.

Junior Stylist

When you feel they are ready to work on their own customers (at reduced prices under the supervision of the owner, master stylist, or director of education), elevate them to junior stylist status. In effect you’re creating your own school within your salon.

As an example, consider placing a sign at the front desk that states “junior stylist available on Wednesdays only.” As they gain experience you can add more days. Allowing your junior stylist to gain self confidence, and gain valuable hands-on experience at reduced prices, without compromising your high quality control standards or client retention guidelines will be invaluable.

When you feel your new junior stylist clearly understands your high quality control program they will gain  self confidence and will be prepared to service regular customers at regular prices, I suggest you let them work at regular prices periodically to see how well they are performing. Once you feel comfortable, you can reward them by elevating them to master stylist status at regular prices.

The money they bring in as a junior stylist allows you to recover your training wages and more. Please review my educational programs for more information on this very important part of your employee training program.

Additional tips and resources for building a successful salon staff are available in the Complete HCDS Owners & Hairdressers Education programs.

Until next time,


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