An exciting vision for how world class hair and beauty apprenticeships and technical education will serve these vital sectors for generations to come has been set out in a new report.

Publication today is the culmination of an extensive employer-led review of current and future skills needs.

The report covers plans for:

  1. More flexible training to make apprenticeships work better for businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic
  2. Better recognition of skills people already have before starting apprenticeships to ensure they don’t waste time relearning
  3. A campaign to improve perceptions around hair and beauty and promote all the exciting training opportunities now available into highly skilled and lucrative careers

It also supports better industry-wide regulation, particularly around non-surgical treatments such as Botox, and updates on progress with T Levels, Higher Technical Qualifications, and a planned new standalone barbering apprenticeship.

Chair of the hair and beauty route panel of expert employers, which led the review with support from sector bodies and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute), Paul Edmonds said:

“I’m thrilled to present this report following our wide-ranging review. It shows how apprenticeships and technical education is ready to adapt and thrive in a fast-changing world. It will drive up standards and transform perceptions of our wonderful industry, as we emerge from the shadow of COVID-19 and look ahead to an exciting future.”

Over 130,000 people were employed in hairdressing and barbering pre-pandemic in England and 87% were female. The beauty sector employed almost 70,000 people in 2019 and 92% were female.

The hair and beauty industry generated over £8 billion in turnover in for the UK economy, amounting to around 8% of the total value generated by the retail sector.

Around 25,000 people have started on the new wave of employer-designed apprenticeships since they launched five years ago and we want them to transform many more people’s lives for the better. Opportunities for people from all backgrounds to progress between apprenticeships wider technical education will be set out more clearly than ever before in our occupational maps.

The report commits to supporting environmental sustainability and encouraging greater diversity among learners. It also reflects on how as communities become more diverse, salons will be a need to offer services to clients with a more diverse range of hair types. The beauty sector is already seen to treat the full range of skin types in mainstream establishments.

Business’ incredible efforts to keep clients and learners safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19, caused an average loss in turnover of 45% in 2020, are also celebrated.

The review helps to show where the skills gaps are and will guide employers to further update apprenticeships and other technical courses to make an even bigger difference.
It is part of the review process which all technical education goes through on a regular basis, to help keep qualifications and apprenticeships up to date.

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive at the Institute, said:

“I would like to thank our fantastic community of supportive employers for pushing ahead with this important review through all the challenges of the pandemic. This report celebrates the sector’s resilience and looks ahead to apprenticeships and technical education boosting standards and creating opportunities for many more employers and learners.”