Creative Careers


Beauty Therapy through both Practical and Theoretical applications.

The Hair Academy South West stresses the commitment of excellence in hairdressing training. It is operated and owned by hairdressers who have been and are still successful in the industry. Our tutors, who are winners of numerous awards, have been helping young people to become hairdressers since 1987 and are at the forefront of this exciting career with high achievement rates.

Coming soon in Sept 2011 Beauty Therapy

From September 2011 we will be offering Beauty Therapy training in the Hair & Beauty Academy. You will be taught by qualified Beauty Therapists who will help you learn the essential art of Beauty Therapy through practical theoretical applications. We offer both government funded apprenticeships and private funded courses all built around your individual needs. For more information please click here.

Rewarding prospects for Apprenticeships

Hairdressing offers you a creative career that is financially secure.

It’s a happy profession which regularly turns up in surveys as being one of the most satisfying jobs with opportunities to work as stylists both in the UK and internationally.

There are over 50,000 vacancies in hairdressing with a qualified stylist starting at minimum wage to established stylists earning on average between £20,00 – £50,000. There are no entry requirements into hairdressing just a passion to learn which offers a unique opportunity with no restrictions.

Why Hairdressing is a cut above the rest – by Linda Whitney


Hairdressing is frequently seen as a glamorous career these days. Once considered a dead end job, it is now attracting graduates and top hairdressers can rake in handsome salaries.

‘After 3 years training our, hairdressers are earning more than £50,000 and within 5 years can be on 6 figure sums’ says Michael Van Clarke, whose West End salon includes graduates among it’s trainees and stylists.

There are 50,000 vacancies in hairdressing, and it’s a happy profession, which regularly turns up in surveys of the most satisfying jobs.

But to make it to the top rather than just the salon on the corner, you must be focused on success from day one. ‘First, get some work experience. Arrange a Saturday job in a salon, says Dee Pilgrim, author of the Real Life Guide To Hairdressing (

If you are still keen after sweeping the floor, sterilising scissors and handing curlers to stylists, it may be for you, and the experience will help at interviews for courses or jobs.

Remember hairdressing involves long hours on your feet, and dealing with chemicals (bad news for allergy sufferers). You must be able to keep smiling while dealing with problems and to chat amiably with clients, so it’s not for the shy.

Be prepared to fight negative stereotypes. ‘So often I have heard of people who wanted to be hairdressers but were dissuaded by parents and school career advisers,’ says Charlie Taylor, three times Scottish Hairdresser of the Year, who runs four salons in Scotland.

British hairdressing training is considered the world’s best, but choose providers carefully. There are apprenticeships, and your training should lead to at least an NVQ level two, but many salons demand NVQ level three. You can then go onto Higher National Certificate or Diploma qualifications and foundation or honors degrees.

You can train at college or at a salon, where you combine work with day release. Choose a salon that offers accredited training and has been OFSTED inspected and graded. Good technical skills are essential, but clients paying up to £50 a cut expect a lot more.

‘You need to be creative and confident enough to make intelligent conversation with clients who have high expectations who have high expectations at the upper end of the market,’ says Charlie Taylor. ‘We insist on good manners among our trainees,’.

Forging relationships with clients is a large part of the job, best learnt in a salon, says Michael Van Clarke, ‘Our apprentices work closely with a mentor. What they pick up unconsciously about how to build relationships with clients cannot be learnt in a classroom.’

To make a name for yourself, do not restrict yourself to working in the salon. Many top stylists gained recognition for photographic work, which involves styling models for photo shoots. This means devising more eye-catching styles than most salon clients want.

You can raise your profile by styling for fashion shows and at industry exhibitions, as well as entering hairdressing competitions.

‘Most top hairdressers run their own salons, so get the business skills you need,’ says Sarah Collinge from Andrew Colinge, which has nine salons in the North-West, and an academy training 200 people at any one time.

NVQ level four in hairdressing and foundation degrees provide salon management training, but pick up entrepreneurial tips from top hairdressers too.

Pay in hairdressing starts at the minimum wage, but established stylists can earn £20,000 to £50,000, including commission on sales of hair products.

  • The Hair and Beauty Authority produce a careers leaflet, Careers in Hairdressing and Barbering free from

It makes sense to break the mould


With a private education and a degree, Niki Moores defies the stereotype of the hairdresser.

It was during a ski season in Meribel that she realised her true ambition was to go into hairdressing. Her parents were concerned, but she applied for an apprenticeship with West End salon Michael Van Clarke and 18 months later is a stylist and self-employed partner in the business.

‘I am now entitled to 40 percent of the income from my clients, and my potential earnings are limitless,’ says Niki, 24 from Purley, Surrey.

A haircut from Niki costs around £50, and she has been nominated for the Junior of The Year prize at the British Hairdressing Business Awards. Technical and creative skills are essential, she says, but there’s more to it than that. ‘At this level, you must be able to talk intelligently with clients about the latest exhibitions, plays and films.

‘I try to help clients in anyway that I can – if they want a number for a local restaurant, or library, I will make time to find it,’ she says.

‘Be wary of misconceptions about this industry. I had to be strong to approach my parents about my career choice, but now they are proud that i have come so far so quickly,’.

Focus is key to success

Alfie Booth left a degree course in media studies to train as a hairdresser. Now 24, he is entering the British Hairdresser Awards for the second time, having reached the final six in his category in 2006.
‘I always enjoyed being creative and one day while having my haircut, I realised I’d like to try it,’ he says. Alfie (pictured) admits when he started as an apprentice at the Andrew Collinge salon in Manchester he had never used a blow-dryer. ‘So it was a steep learning curve,’ he says.

But he loved the work immediately and was fast-tracked through training. Two and a half years later, he is a senior stylist at the salon, the kind of job that pays £20,000 to £30,000 a year.
‘As well as seeing clients at the salon, I am entering competitions and have recently worked on the Central St Martin’s and John Moores University fashion degree shows.’ he says. ‘To get to the top, you have to be focused on success, be persistent and keep trying until an idea really works well.’