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What Do Hairdressing Apprentices Do?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A hairdressing apprentice is someone who works for a salon but has either not completed formal training or is in the process of doing so. Apprentices work at a hair salon to gain experience in the field of hairdressing. Apprenticeships are either offered through the vocational school or are sought by the student on their own.

The duties of hairdressing apprentices change over the apprenticeship as the student gains experience from the salon and at the vocational school. In the beginning, hairdressing apprentices will book appointments, greet clients, and clean up the salon. As the apprenticeship progresses, hairdressing apprentices will be allowed to observe senior stylists as they cut and style hair and ask questions about styling techniques. The apprentice will also eventually be allowed to shampoo and prepare clients for styling, prepare chemical treatments, and assist senior stylists with their work. Towards the end of hairdressing apprentices as the student completes their vocational training, the salon may allow the apprentice to take on their own clients and begin to build a client base.

All of these duties will teach hairdressing apprentices the attributes needed to be a good hairdresser. The apprentice will learn to be patient with clients, develop good communication skills, and learn to deal with people. They will also learn the physical needs of hairdressing, such as being able to stand for long periods of time, be around chemicals, and deal with the chemicals safely. The student will learn to adapt to client’s needs by combining techniques and styles to make the client happy. Finally, the student will be able to observe, first hand, the complicated process of running a business and making it successful.

Hairdressing apprenticeships typically last between one and five years, depending on the amount of time that can be given to the salon by the apprentice. The hairdressing apprentice is usually paid, but often the pay is less than a normal hairdressing assistant because some of the apprentice’s time is spend learning and observing. Some apprenticeships will end with either the apprentice taking on some of the salon’s clients or being offered a place in the salon. If this is not part of the contract, the apprentice will leave the apprenticeship with valuable experience and often a strong recommendation.

There are several ways to obtain a hairdressing apprenticeship. Many vocational hairdressing schools will offer hairdressing apprenticeships, and may require an apprenticeship before graduation from the program. When this is the case, the school often has an office or administrator who helps students secure these positions. If this is not an option, the student can approach nearby salons to see if they would take on an apprentice. The student could offer to work a certain number of hours for free, on a trial basis, to develop a relationship with a salon and gain access to an apprenticeship.

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