Barber apprenticeships: all you need to know

Fancy training to become a barber? Barber apprenticeships offer a way into the hair and beauty industry, working towards a recognised qualification while also getting paid. Apprentices get the chance to learn by working with and closely observing experienced professional barbers. They then also receive additional training at a college or training centre to boost their skills.

As an apprentice barber your training will be practical and hands on, so what are you waiting for? Read on to find out all you need to know about barber apprenticeships.

Chop chop!

What does an apprentice barber do?

Barbers and hairdressers require a mix of both practicle and “soft” skills, combining the technique required to cut and style hair, with the communication and customer service skills required to work in a people-facing business.

Working as an apprentice barber you will learn all about styles, techniques and customer service on-the-job, while also helping to keep a fast-paced business running smoothly.

Some tasks you might do as an apprentice barber include:

  • Meeting and greeting clients
  • Shampooing and washing client hair
  • Keeping the barbershop clean and tidy
  • Assisting stylists throughout the day
  • Shaving and Beard trimming
  • Customer Service
  • Making drinks for the clients
  • Directing clients to their work station

Along with these types of tasks that help the barbershop function, you will also get the chance to improve your hair-cutting and shaving skills.

What qualifications do I need?

You can start training to become a barber on a level two apprenticeship, this means that you can start at 16 after you have completed your GCSE’s. Previously called ‘apprenticeship in barbering’ this apprenticeship standard has recently been combined with hairdressing to simply become hair professional.

The level 2 NVQ  provides you with all the necessary skills and foundations to become a professional junior barber, including crucial basic hair cutting techniques.

After your level 2, you can move on to a level 3 qualification, which will allow you to learn more advanced techniques, as well as develop a better understanding of the business side of the hair and beauty industry in the UK.

The level 3 NVQ will teach you how to better support clients and provide a quality service. You’ll learn a variety of advanced hair cutting techniques to take your skills to the next level. After a level 3 you can be considered a fully qualified barber.

Are there any costs involved?

The great thing about an apprenticeship is the ability to earn while you learn, and as an apprentice barber you can expect to take home at least the apprentice minimum wage. On this note, be wary of job roles that call themselves apprenticeships but ask for an upfront training fee or costs, these are not legitimate apprentice opportunities.

The only thing you may be asked to contribute some money towards is your tools of the trade. A standard barbering or hair kit should not cost more than £150. Additionally, these are tools owned by you that you will use every day of your job, so it is a worthwhile investment.

Do I need to do an interview?

This will depend on the training academy/salon, but most will want to at least meet you and have a conversation before hiring you as an apprentice. Interviews will be mostly relaxed and you won’t be expected to know anything about cutting hair before you start, but you should have some knowledge of the industry and a passion for the job.

An interview can be just as beneficial for you, allowing you to ask any questions you have. Likewise it is your chance to ensure that you are a right fit for a job and training course.

What can I expect from a career in hair and beauty?

There are lots of opportunities available in the hair and beauty industry, and a barbering apprenticeship can be a great first step to unlocking them. Fully trained barbers can expect to earn £18-25,000 per year, depending on experience. It can also open up opportunities to further train and specialise.

As a barber there are also a number of different ways for you to work. To begin with you will likely work as an employee as part of a larger show or salon, but as you advance in your career you could choose to rent a chair at a salon and be your own boss, or even start your own shop. You could also advertise yourself as a mobile barber and visit clients homes or places of work.

Where can I find a barbering apprenticeship?

So that completes our run down of everything you need to know about barbering apprenticeships. If you think this is something you might like to do, the next thing you need to know is where to find one!  A great first place to look is the Government’s find an apprenticeship service. This database lets you sort jobs by type and location, so you can see what is available near you. Alternatively, you could look to find an independent training program that offers hair and barbershop apprenticeships.