Following months of campaigning and warnings to government regarding the need for additional education, training and skills funding for the hair and beauty sector, the NHBF has welcomed today’s announcement by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, for the major expansion of education and training for those aged 18 and above.
The key points are:
- Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers
- New entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain and enhancing the nation’s technical skills
- The opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them.
- Apprenticeship opportunities will also be increased, with more funding for small and medium sized businesses, such as salons, taking on apprentices. This includes greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries (which includes hair and beauty) where there are more varied employment patterns.
This offer will be available from April 2021 in England and will be paid for through the National Skills Fund. A full list of available courses will be available shortly.
Hilary Hall, chief executive for the NHBF says, ‘We welcome the increased investment in apprenticeships for small and medium companies, although we will need to see more details. We feel the funding should be focussed on older learners looking to switch careers by moving into hairdressing or beauty therapy.
Many salons currently have no plans to take on apprentices but may change their minds if the increased investment in apprentices is focussed on older learners. Employers are put off taking on such students as apprentices because they are only paid at the apprenticeship rate for one year of their apprenticeship course, which typically lasts two years. As employers in our sector have a strong preference for apprenticeships and salons who are recruiting apprentices are reporting a shortage of suitable applicants, this is a great opportunity.’
The NHBF is still calling for a dedicated training and reskilling fund for those businesses such as those in the hair and beauty sector who have been the most severely hit by the current restrictions and guidelines required in order to be compliant and operate safely.
In addition to the main points the Prime Minister also announced that higher education loans will be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.