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Starting a career in Barbering | Blog post by Mike Taylor

Posted on 1st July 2016 by PROinsider
It’s that time of year again when people are making their career choices. In the past couple of years, there has been a huge increase of interest in barbering courses and for the first time ever, colleges are receiving more enquiries about barbering than hairdressing. Barbering is currently deemed the cool trade to be in, so how do you get into this industry?
Education is the foundation of this industry, so invest some of your time finding a good college or training provider. The National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Vocationally Recognised Qualifications (VRQs) are some of the best qualifications in the world. The key is finding a college or training provider that have a passion for the industry and don’t just want to tick a box. Typically, the Barbering NVQ 2 should take you a minimum of 12 months to complete to ensure you are gaining enough skills and knowledge to begin working in the industry. Throughout the course, you should look to be doing at least 150 men’s cuts – remember practice makes perfect.
 So, how do you get this training? 
You have three options:

This is a great option if you have the money. There are many training centres that offer NVQs and VRQs to teach you how to become a barber and they should cost anywhere between £2000-£5000. The most expensive is not always the best, so do your research and shop around before you invest your time and money. Have a look around the centre, meet the staff and ask lots of questions! You will normally get a good sense if it feels right for you. Make sure you are gaining an accredited qualification.
Remember there is no quick fix – barbering is a trade and it takes time to perfect your craft.

If you’re serious about learning how to become a barber, an apprenticeship will give you in-house training from a barbershop, as well as a recognised qualification from a college or training provider. The only problem is barbering apprenticeships can be hard to find and you need to be prepared to work hard for little money – the national minimum wage for an apprentice is currently £3.30 per hour. There are also government incentives in place to support employers in recruiting apprentices. From 2017, new apprenticeship standards will be introduced that have been designed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’. This means that employers will be at the forefront of the development of apprenticeships helping to create a workforce that has skills relevant to the industry.
An apprenticeship is really solid way to get into the industry, so really try and sell yourself to the barbershop.
Full Time Study

The key to full time study is to find the right college or training provider. Make sure when you go to the college, you don’t get sold a different course to the one you want. Class sizes can be big in these environments so ask them about their client base – will there be enough clients to go around the class? In a lot of colleges you will be expected to bring in your own models. Also make sure that your tutor has barbershop experience – this is important so that you can ensure you are receiving the best training. Learning in a college environment can be fun and rewarding, but you have to make sure the college you choose take barbering seriously.
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