A businesswoman who represents Wales on the Hair Council is calling for improved careers advice in schools to correctly portray the opportunities available in hairdressing and barbering.
Shirley Davis-Fox, MBE, the Hair Council’s political lobbyist, believes that school leavers are not always aware of the available routes into the hair industry.
“Hairdressing and barbering are exciting and fulfilling careers, offering extensive opportunities and excellent salaries for skilled practitioners,” said Mrs Davis-Fox, who is chairman of ISA Training in Bridgend, the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales.
“Careers advisors should understand the range of skills required of a practitioner and the substantial opportunities careers in hairdressing and barbering can offer.”
The Hair Council wants improved careers advice in schools to include up to date information on progressive salary levels, career progression and all the potential routes into the industry.
The devolved UK Governments are called upon to record the number of pupils who take up apprenticeships when leaving school as part of the education inspection criteria.
The Hair Council strongly supports the devolved governments’ drive towards delivering more apprenticeships. “Further and Higher Education doesn’t suit everyone and careers information must advise that an apprenticeship based career is equally fulfilling and financially beneficial to a young person,” said Mrs Davis-Fox.
“We strive to support and set the highest possible standards for the industry and will support all educational reforms that will result in apprentices being ‘work ready’ upon completion of their training.”
The Hair Council is supporting the National Living Wage for hairdressing and barbering workers to reflect the professional services they provide and to attract and keep talented and creative people in the industry.
The industry contributes around £5 billion annually to the UK economy and employs nearly 300,000 people. The Hair Council is lobbying the devolved governments to introduce a more realistic VAT and tax regime for the labour intensive and highly competitive industry, which it describes as the lifeblood of every high street across the UK.
Formed by an Act of Parliament in 1964 to maintain, develop and protect a register of hairdressers and barbers, the Hair Council is the industry’s leading voice and has launched a campaign for the mandatory state registration of all qualified hairdressers and barbers in the UK.
Currently, anyone can set up in business as a hairdresser or barber without being qualified to use potentially dangerous chemicals. The Hair Council aims to outlaw this practice by professionalising the industry.
Political lobbying by Mrs Davis-Fox, on behalf of the Hair Council, to change politicians’ perception of the hairdressing and barbering has resulted in the formation of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Hair in the House of Commons.
“A key driver of the Hair Council is to be a catalyst for change within our sector and by working together with all our stakeholders we can tackle the challenges we face,” she added.
“By continuously working on our key objectives we will change the perception of our industry, enhance protection for the consumer, grow membership and increase the register.”