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Education and training

Education and training information and issues including work-based learning, apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, and further and higher education courses.

Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications are available in beauty therapy, hairdressing, barbering, salon reception and salon management. For body art (tattooing and piercing) there are no national vocational qualifications available yet. To develop the relationship with the body art sector, the development of national occupational standards was commenced by HABIA in 2004.

Achievement of vocational qualifications in hairdressing and beauty therapy is high with over 80% of the workforce possessing or working towards some form of qualification in the hairdressing, barbering or beauty therapy sectors.

Source: HABIA 2004

Achievement of vocational qualifications in the hair and beauty sub-sectors, 2003

* In beauty therapy the entry level qualification is more generally regarded as level 3 or equivalent.
Source: HABIA 2004 plus calculations by Heike Behle (IER). Compiled using data from tables 2.2.2, 4.2.2 and 5.2.2.

Work-based training

A well-established tradition of work-based training, particularly for young workers, exists in the industry, often combined with external training provision.

Training in hairdressing is offered by: 580 assessment centres.

These include approximately 80 hairdressing salons operate as training centres in their own right, providing Cheynes training for their own staff. Whilst many top hairdressers are also well recognised as training providers

Training in beauty therapy is offered by: 509 assessment centres.

Source: HABIA 2004


The training providers (further education and private in hairdressing, further education in beauty therapy) are stated by HABIA to be an industry driver. Nevertheless, HABIA reports many qualification deficits among staff as an industry brake. Apprenticeship frameworks are unachievable for many trainees because of key skill requirements. Many trainees fail to complete the other components, particularly the key and core skills components.

Not enough young people are achieving the key skills required to complete their modern apprenticeships and many salons feel that those who have completed their training are not adequately prepared for full-time commercial work in a salon. Additionally, the introduction of technical certificates is seen by the industry as unnecessary and it is likely that the number of completers will decline. All this shows a measure of dissatisfaction among employers with the way the training of new entrants to the hairdressing and beauty therapy industries is being managed by the government, particularly apprenticeships. It is likely that more employers will turn inwards to privately funded on-the-job training undertaken in their salon.

The beauty therapy industry does not have quite the same problems with the training of new entrants. Most are trained full-time off-the-job by further education colleges or private training providers and while NVQ 2 is the minimum requirement for an employee in a salon, NVQ 3 is the accepted standard. There is a better match between new recruits and vacancies but there is still significant drop-out during and after training, and a shortage of experienced qualified therapists.

Source: HABIA 2004

The awarding bodies for NVQs and qualifications are City and Guilds, VTCT and Edexcel:

Success rates in hairdressing and beauty therapy, August 2002-July 2003

Source: Data provided by HABIA, success rates of LSC funded Work Based Learning.

Summary of skills and training needs

Source: HABIA 2003

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