This hair and beauty route review is the second conducted by the Institute. Each of our reviews has provided an exciting and informative opportunity for us to listen to employers, apprentices and providers to get a better understanding of the occupations and skills required within this route and the opportunities and challenges facing employers in developing the future hair and beauty workforce, now and into the foreseeable future. The disruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has made this more important than ever.
We recognise that COVID-19 continues to severely impact this sector and have considered the most appropriate time to publish our findings. We recognise businesses may not have the opportunity to engage with the full report in the current climate and have therefore published a summary of our key findings. We plan to publish a full report later this year.
This summary report details the key outcomes of the Institute’s hair and beauty route review (the review). It includes the changes to the occupational map, recommendations on the hair professional standard and the Institute’s overarching commitments to the route.
Hair and beauty employers have traditionally built the skills they need through vocational and practical training. We know, and celebrate, that the sector particularly recognises the importance of apprenticeships to provide the fundamental skills for individual careers and the wider sector – it is critical that technical education on this route provides the skills, employers, employees and prospective employees need. We are committed to providing a world-leading foundation for high-quality technical education across apprenticeships, T Levels and higher technical qualifications.
The review has produced an updated occupational map which adds occupations employers have said they need to meet current and future business requirements and removed those that are no longer relevant. The review recommendations on the hair professional standard will ensure that it covers all the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours for success. The report ensures the technical education offer on the route will be of the highest quality for learners and provides organisations with employees who have the right skills for their business.
We have worked hard to make sure that this review is truly reflective of the views of hair and beauty employers. From the outset, the project has been a highly collaborative process with the views of employers and other stakeholders close to delivery thoroughly engaged throughout, despite the challenges and we would like to thank all those who have found the time to contribute. The review launched in July 2019 with public consultation and engagement with employers (including trailblazer groups), representative organisations, apprentices and providers. Regular and continuous input was sought in the early stages of the review.
In March 2020, the Institute, in consultation with employers, made the decision to slow the pace of route reviews because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While work continued, we were aware of the unprecedented challenges that employers were facing and carefully managed what we asked of them.
Employers that we have engaged with, following the November 2020 national COVID-19 lockdown, advised us that publishing the full details of the review’s findings and recommendations would not be beneficial to the sector at this time. However, a summary report would support trailblazer groups to move forward in making changes to standards where needed and to understand which new occupational standards have been prioritised for development. We will continue to engage with employers to understand and decide whether publishing this full report later this year will further support the development of technical education in the route, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 and the longer-term changes to the sector that may influence future technical education programmes. We plan to run employer engagements alongside the release of the full report to discuss the findings.
We would like to thank all employers who have taken the time to develop the standards in this route and everyone who has contributed to this review.
The hair and beauty occupational map sets out the occupations within the hair and beauty route that can be accessed through technical education.
As part of the review, we analysed the occupations that were included on the hair and beauty map to see if they reflected employers’ current and future needs. The focus for the analysis was on occupations that have not yet been developed into occupational standards. This was to ensure that the maps accurately reflected current occupations in the sector. The following changes will be made as a result:
Three occupations have been added to the map:
Employers highlighted they wanted the barbering option in the hair professional (level 2) to be a standalone standard to recognise the growing prominence of male grooming in the sector and the distinction between the skills, knowledge and behaviours associated with the two occupations. The standard will include updated content, recognising the recent developments in and demand for barbering. This standalone barbering professional standard will be prioritised for development alongside the hairdressing occupation. Once it is authorised for use, the existing option in the hair professional standard will be removed, thus protecting the continuity of provision. In the meantime, barbering will, exceptionally, appear twice on the occupational map, to signal this intention.
Four occupations have been removed from the map:
We have removed the following occupations from the map following consultation feedback and engagement with the sector. This is because the occupations do not meet the Institute’s criteria and/or are covered by other standards. For example, ‘spa treatment’ is covered by the beauty therapist standard and ‘salon manager’ and ‘beauty therapy manager’ by standards in the business and administration route.
In addition, as well as barbering professional (technical occupation – level 2/3), aesthetics practitioner (higher technical occupation – level 4/5) will be prioritised for development, following feedback from the sector and evidence that there is a widespread demand for this occupation.
The following criteria were used to determine which standards were in scope for the review:
The hair professional (level 2) – ST0213 was the sole standard to meet the criteria as it was approved for delivery before the Institute was established in 2017.
The standard has been reviewed against the Institute’s quality requirements, taking on board feedback from employers (including trailblazer groups), apprentices and providers, alongside that, received through our public consultation. We also considered feedback from an Institute peer reviewer, who is an independent third-party expert in this occupation.
The Institute’s hair and beauty employer route panel evaluated all the evidence and confirmed the final recommendations.
The following recommendations were made for the hair professional (level 2) standard:
Hair Professional (level 2)
The outcomes of the review have been shared with the trailblazer group for the hair professional (level 2). The Institute’s relationship manager will now work closely with them to update the standard which will then be submitted through the Institute’s standard approvals process. As part of this process, the updated standard will also be reviewed to ensure it uses accessible and gender-neutral language, maximising the appeal of the occupation and associated technical education programmes.
Once the occupational standard has been amended, we will determine whether the assessment plan and funding band need to be updated to ensure alignment with the updated occupational standard, following the Institute's normal approvals process for apprenticeships.
The Institute is committed to supporting the hair and beauty sectors by:
1. Raising the profile and improving the delivery of technical education
2. Improving accessibility to technical education
3. Supporting the development and delivery of technical education during the COVID-19 pandemic and support recovery
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on employers and apprentices in the hair and beauty route. Restrictions nationally and locally over the past year have meant that businesses have had to continue to be flexible and work hard to adjust to the restrictions.
The Institute is committed to supporting the apprenticeship sector to deal with the significant challenge COVID-19 presents. We will continue to support the delivery of high-quality apprenticeships and T Levels, while putting everyone’s health and wellbeing first. We are also working closely with the DfE, ESFA, Treasury, and the National Apprenticeship Service to ensure a joined-up approach.
You can find out more on our website about how the Institute is supporting the apprenticeship sector to deal with the significant challenge COVID-19 presents. If you are looking for help on a specific apprenticeship, please see our published list of additional flexibilities. At the time of publishing this summary report, there were five hair and beauty apprenticeships with flexibilities in place: advanced beauty therapist (level 3), beauty and makeup consultant (level 2), beauty therapist (level 2), hair professional (level 2) and nail services technician (level 2). We will keep this under review and make any further updates as required.
The Institute is also committed to continuing to work with employers to mitigate, as far as is possible, the immediate impact of the pandemic and understand the longer-term implications for the occupations within the route, apprenticeships and other technical education programmes.
The outcomes of the review have been shared with the trailblazer group for the standard in scope. The Institute’s relationship manager will now work closely with the trailblazer group to update the hair professional (level 2) standard. This will then be submitted through the Institute’s approvals process. We would normally expect changes to the apprenticeships to be completed within 12 months of the publication of our recommendations. However, we recognise the need for flexibility and will consult with the trailblazer and the wider sector on the timelines to implement any changes. The hair trailblazer has already made good progress on engaging with its employer group and has begun the process of redeveloping the standard.
We will publish a more detailed report later this year. It will reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and any longer-term implications for technical education. We plan to run employer engagements alongside the release of the full report to discuss the findings.
The first T Level in the sector, in hair, beauty and aesthetics, will be developed this year with first teaching scheduled for September 2023. More information on T Levels can be found on our website and on tlevels.gov.uk.
The next route reviews to be completed are the agriculture, environmental and animal care and engineering and manufacturing route reviews. Further information of the status of each of our route reviews can be found on the Institute’s website.