Top Navigation

Tips to Implementing an Apprenticeship Program

” There is no substitute for on job training.|”  Jon Gonzales

I am sure you will agree that there is a real need for an Apprenticeship or Internship program in the beauty profession. Unfortunately not enough owners are speaking out about its benefits.

In my opinion an apprenticeship program would help solve the high dropout rate of young hairdressers leaving the profession due to lack of hands on experience.  More importantly, it would be a greater incentive for employers to invest in employee training as well. An apprenticeship program would also combat the high drop out rate of people leaving the profession and help answer the question I am always asked by salon  owners at my presentations: “How do I find good help?”

An apprenticeship program would help upgrade the quality of education to better meet job market and consumer demands.  As salon owners you certainly have the incentive to educate your team; if you don’t teach them properly, you will probably go out of business.

The question is:  Why is there no apprenticeship program in the beauty profession?  Who’s to blame?

Sadly in my opinion, there is no unity among salon owners in addressing this challenge because of the division  among booth rental owners and salary/commissioned owners. Because of this divide and the special interest groups against apprenticeship, I see little chance of ever seeing this type of program being implemented in the beauty industry because as salon owners we have no voice or unity  to deal with this challenge.

Many more salon owners are reluctant to train young people, enabling them to establish a clientele,  only to lose them to a booth rental salon.  Because of this broadly held reluctance, many young students are  missing  a great opportunity to develop the skills needed as a stylist and establish a successful future in the beauty profession.

When they don,t receive the proper mentoring and guidance, they easily become discouraged as they try to build a clientele and build self confidence.Many more simply give up  or jump from salon to salon, only to leave the profession after a few months, in utter frustration, resorting to finding another type of profession,

In the absence of an apprenticeship program, and until changes are made, each owner will have to develop their own apprenticeship and educational training program within their salon.

The following tips will help you develop a simplified apprenticeship or junior stylist program of your own,  without compromising your client retention programs or losing customers, due to the stylist’s  inexperience and lack of confidence.

Follow these tips with an open mind:

Hire the Right People — develop a comprehensive staff development program . Follow my staff development program in my book  “Creating Your Salon” Click here.   Make sure you hire people that share your vision, goals, and quality control standards.

After you make your selection,  review  terms of employment in your employee handbook.  Clearly define your expectations and how those expectations will be measured


Probation Period —I suggest a 3 or 6 month  probationary period.  Make sure you include the following 3 major provisions in your employee hand book:

1. Your employment is “ at will”,  which means that  they can quit at any time during their probation and you can let them go at any time during their probation period.

2. State in your employee handbook that their employment is not a contract for employment

3. You reserve the right to amend or change your handbook or training program at any time. These provisions can be found in my chapter on writing an employee handbook found in Creating Your Salon. Click here.

Define Quality Control Standards — after salon orientation, let your new staff member slowly perform assisting duties, and practice on doll heads when not busy, under your supervision or the supervision of your director of education.

Assisting Program — after orientation, making sure they understand and follow your quality control system,you can then gradually let them assist you or one of your top hairdressers with shampooing, applying color, blow drying, etc.  Of course you should show them how to perform these tasks,before they work on real customers.

Junior Stylist Graduation — after you feel they understand your quality control standards and you  feel they ready to work on real customers, elevate them to junior stylist status, at reduced prices under the supervision of either you the owner, or one of your master stylists or director of education.  Your promotion should say the following:

“All our junior stylists are licensed professionals, who have chosen to reach higher levels of excellence at reduced prices, under the supervision of our master stylist or director of education.

Simply place a sign at the front desk, stating ” junior stylist available only on Tuesdays” or on a day you feel  will allow time to evaluate their performance.

Master Stylist –— once you feel comfortable with their work, you can gradually move them to master stylist, at regular prices.

I urge you to review my educational programs that will answer many of your questions and help you build your winning team. Click here.

To many owners this may seem to require a lot of effort, but with practice this is a simple way to make sure your newcomer understands your quality control standards, without  losing customers.  When your new stylist reaches your level of  quality control guidelines  they will gain self confidence and dramatically improve your client retention efforts.

, , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to Tips to Implementing an Apprenticeship Program

  1. Cecilia Gilbet October 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Thank you very much for the tips. Some days I feel discouraged to find people to work with in my salon and I am happy to have found you.

    Today on the service at the Crystal Cathedral, they said, “let the miracles come”.

    I have been doing hair replacement for about 15 years and I opened my salon 4 years ago, I do all the work by myself almost all the time. I want to see if you can help me make my business grow and help me start being a business owner, not a self- employed employee.
    I have gone to some business seminars by the Chambers of Commerce and Score but I am still chasing my own tail.

  2. Levi Chancer June 26, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Hey, perhaps i am being a little off topic right here, however I was checking your site and it seems to be beautiful. I am constructing a blog and striving to make it appear clean, but everytime I touch it I screw something up. Did you style and design the blog all by yourself? Can somebody with very little experience do it, and also add updates with out messing it up? At any rate, great info on here, really helpful.

  3. krystal November 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    hi i am an apprentice currently at london hairdressing academy interested in working in a salon to gain experience as a junior stylist career aims of being studying to become a senior stylist and working my way up to opening my own business. Can you offer me any advice, tips, connections within the industry that also maybe useful thanks very much

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This