The RTO’s Role

The RTO’s Role

When training an apprentice a strong working relationship with your training organisation is critical. Invariably, like all partnerships, there’s times when you need to work with your RTO to resolve issues that arise.

So I suppose understanding exactly what the RTO’s responsibility is, really helps with that. Particularly, because apprenticeships can be complicated. There’s competing priorities. There’s the priorities of the apprentice, the needs of the salon and then there’s also the requirements of the formal training package, which can be quite complicated at times. So again, the best advice would be really get to know exactly what your RTO’s role is, so that you can work with them to achieve the best outcomes. Namely, the RTO needs to conduct a workplace assessment and a plan with you.

So as an RTO, we will assess your capacity to supervise and train your apprentice. And that’s all around having people that are qualified inside the salon, but then also the resources and the time, and the rosters that help to make everything happen.

Secondly, we deliver training and assessment so we’ll negotiate and develop a training plan with yourself and your apprentice. Within that, there’ll be some strict timeframes, for full time apprentice is is 36 months.  We work to make sure that training and assessment of your apprentice happens over that duration. We talk about what the training costs will be, the funding implications, and then all the training and assessment requirements that come every step of the way.

Thirdly, we’ll manage progress. We do this by providing your apprentice and yourself with a training record. And that train record book sits within the salon and it shows that you’re regularly moving and completing your work as you go. We will regularly check that with you and then manage your training plan in unison with the training record to make sure that the progression is happening. We notify and work with you if the apprentice is not progressing fast enough.

Fourthly learning support. So if needed additional support, particularly for numeracy and literacy is something that we can really help with, or work with other support services to make that happen. Then there is completion, when it comes time to complete your apprentice, there’s a completion agreement that’s signed. Once all are agreed, and everybody says that the completion has happened, then we issue qualifications. Once those qualifications are in place, it means that your apprentice is now fully qualified and they can move about life as a senior hairdresser or barber in industry.

An amazing outcome and an amazing partnership between three parties over what can be a three, four or five year duration. At MIG we work with many leading names is the hairdressing and barber industry to walk through that process from cradle to grave of apprenticeships, to ensure that the industry has qualified seniors and really skilled technical people in the industry.

If you’d like to talk about how we deliver apprenticeship training, and how to train your team, it’d be wonderful to connect. Give a call. Thanks very much.


Is Your Apprentice Falling Behind?

Is Your Apprentice Falling Behind?


So your apprentice is falling behind, what should you do?

A full time hairdressing or barbering apprenticeship can be a really intense journey, with each apprentice having to complete 28 units in hairdressing and 26 units in barbering to complete their apprenticeship over the 36 months duration.

So when you take on an apprentice, you can experience issues and these can be with the apprentice or trainee themselves in relation to motivation and getting the job done. It could be with your supervising training organisation, or it could also be with the apprenticeship support network that helps you.

The key part to making sure that your apprentice stays on track is managing progression. This is a really important partnership between the apprentice, your training organisation and yourself. But it’s important really to know that you have an obligation to put plans into place to manage progression, and if progression falls too far behind then you need to notify the education department to put mediative action into place.

In the difficult world of work and study, oftentimes things may need to be put in place and we recommend five key steps to make sure that when you’re sitting down with the apprentice, you get the right outcomes when you’re trying to manage progression.

Firstly, you need to identify the issue. So you need to really work out exactly what the issue is. Express it in words, so that you can make it something that’s solvable. And I suppose focusing on the issue, and not the emotion is the most important tip that we’ve seen from our experience.

Secondly, identify what’s causing the issue. So who or what or how are things contributing to that, who’s being affected and what are the consequences. I suppose the best tip that we have is to listen without judgment, and brainstorm solutions with the apprentice and all parties.

Thirdly, make a list of all the possible solutions that you could go for, you could look at a range of possibilities that are both sensible and some that aren’t. But by doing that, you will avoid judgment, and you can debate all the ways that you could possibly move forward

Fourthly, choose a solution. So look at the solutions in turn, assess them all positives and negatives, and choose one that’s right for you. So that you can put it into practice and you can solve the issue. Consult with others, and plan the details. Once you’ve agreed on that plan, put it into play and ask these questions. Who’s going to do what and when you will do it by and finally, what is needed to put the solution into action.

Finally, once you put a solution into managing the progression of your apprentice to get them back on track, after a reasonable period of time, you need to evaluate that solution. So you’ll need to give it time you’ll need to let it work through, you’ll need everyone to be able to settle into their place.

To evaluate it you can again go through a series of questions. What’s worked well, what hasn’t worked well, and what could be done differently to improve it. It’s important to note that this partnership and communication are really important, balancing work and study is a difficult thing for many apprentices. It has its ups and downs over a long period of time, which can be three plus years of apprenticeship.

At MIG, we work really closely with many salons to help them manage the ups and downs of the apprenticeship and we’d love to work with you. If you’d like to reach out and discuss how we can help to build your signatures salon team and work to create happier harmonious staff that are completing their apprenticeship on time.

Give us a call. Thank you.

What Constitutes Training?

What Constitutes Training?

Let’s talk about training and particularly training in the apprenticeship context. Training can come in many forms. Most commonly students think training is when one on one training happens, but this is really only one form. So let’s break it down shall we because there are six official forms of training.

Firstly, face to face training with your RTO. And this can be attending college but it can also be when college comes to the salon or barber shop for training either on models or theory session.

Secondly, telephone or zoom meetings with your RTO. And this type of training can be as simple as a checking call, or it could be a zoom meeting to work on underpinning knowledge or to track progress. At MIG, we developed some great skills during the COVID lockdown period with this.

Thirdly, working with your in-salon supervisor or your mentor in the barber shop is really important because it helps to build those practical skills, work on speed and timing.

 Practice, number four, practices is king. Practicing your skills on models and clients helps to embed the skills that you’ve learnt either at college or in salon. 

Observation, this is a common form of training but observation is one of those things that really helps you to understand industry and how it works. When you’re watching how your senior barbers and hairdressers communicate and work with their clients it helps to make sense of everything there is in the world of training.

And finally, theory, not everybody’s cup of tea but every part of the Certificate III in either hairdressing or barbering has a theory component. So understanding the underpinning knowledge that goes with all the practical skills helps to build confidence moving forward in your career.

 At MIG, we work with many household names in hairdressing, to work on the capacity and the technical skills of their people. We’d love to connect with you and to work with you to help you build great skills within your team and to put in place great training structures that work.

 The thing that we say to every one of our students though, as they work through this process, and develop the skills to become great hairdressers is to:  Be Creative, Have Fun, and Dare to be different.

Understanding the Apprenticeship System

Understanding the Apprenticeship System

So you’re looking to put on an apprentice? For many employers, it’s either their first foray into the apprenticeship world or the first sign up for a number of years, and as such, getting your head around the system can be confusing and a little daunting. But a little knowledge goes a long way and understanding the system prior to recruitment can really help in attracting quality people. So who’s who in the zoo.

All things apprenticeships are managed on behalf of the federal government by the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network, or AASN for short. This network is made up of a number of companies or providers whose role it is to be the first point of contact for all things apprenticeships. These providers include names such as Busy at Work, MEGT, Sarina, Russo, Job Access and Apprenticeship Support Australia. And the support they provide really follows the apprenticeship journey from cradle to grave.  There’s a number of steps a salon needs to take to bring on an apprentice. And they are, step one, contact your essence that operates in your state who can help with initial funding eligibility assessment, and may may even provide some advice on how to structure and how to recruit.

Step two, once you’ve recruited your new team member, the next step is to arrange for that same AASN to come and complete the apprenticeship contract sign up.  The contract is legally binding so if your apprentice is under the age of 16, you’ll probably need a parent or guardian there to help.

Step three, as part of the sign up, you’ll be asked to nominate a Registered Training Organisation to deliver the off the job or formal training. The apprenticeship support provider will provide you with a list of all the RTO’s available, including both TAFE and private college options.

Step four, the AASN will notify the RTO that they’ve been nominated to deliver, and that will set the wheels in motion for your nominated RTO to work with you to develop a training plan that encompasses all the training and assessment and how it will be conducted. Importantly, for first time apprentice employers, it’s really important to understand that the training and assessment provided by your college can be tailored to suit your needs, and the program isn’t just dictated by how they want to deliver.

Step five, the responsibility for training is a three way partnership, which includes salon owner, apprentice and RTO. And so as the employer, it’s really important that you understand your obligations as part of that partnership. And these obligations are really referenced in that contract that you signed early in the piece. But the important items to be across from an employer perspective are: paid training time obligations, apprentice supervision obligations, the range of work that needs to be provided to the apprentice, and finally pay progression for the apprentice over the duration of their apprenticeship.

Once you’re across all these things, and a training plans in place with the RTO and they’re progressing and moving through their training, the Australian apprenticeship support providers role then is to help facilitate any Commonwealth incentives and benefits that the salon owners entitled to. At a basic level, this will include incentives within three to six months of commencement, and then incentives at completion. Employing an apprentices is an investment in the future sustainability of your salon and the industry. And as we’ve talked about, there’s really four people involved, the employer, the apprentice, the RTO, and the government AASN. And whilst it can be confusing at first, each play a role in the apprenticeship journey. Close relationships between the AASN and RTO and the employer means that there’s a step by step process that will run smoothly and your salon will take advantage of the incredible opportunity and available funding that there is through the apprenticeship pathway.

At MIG, we work with many great names in hairdressing to help train and educate their staff. We’d love to connect with you, to be able to help you on your apprenticeship journey.

Fast Track Programs, An Alternative Pathway

Fast Track Programs, An Alternative Pathway

I would like to talk to you a little bit about fast track or college based courses. One of the greatest challenges we face as an industry and as educators is in attracting quality people who will sustain our industry moving forward. And whilst the apprenticeship continues to be the bedrock, quality institutional pathways are a viable alternative for attracting new people to our industry. Historically, the college based or fast track option has not necessarily been considered the equal of the apprenticeship. But the demand for greater flexibility from those looking to join our industry has underpinned the popularity of these programs. 

The advantages of this alternative pathway numerous.  Firstly, it attracts individuals that otherwise might have been lost to the trade, in particular mature aged people who are looking at a change of career. It also opens the door for school leavers who may not be ready to access an apprenticeship at that time. Secondly, employing those who already have a level of exposure and a demonstrated commitment to the trade helps to address the incredibly high cancellation rate that’s often associated with new entrants. And finally, those who have access quality training and are ready to hit the ground running are well placed to be productive from the outset. They’ve made a considerable personal investment in their own training. And this helps to reduce the substantial education and training commitment that’s required by salons.

There’s no better way to get a feel for those who are attracted to the college based pathway than to follow the journey of one of our recent graduates. Abi Donaldson completed her Cert III in Hairdressing at MIG, and has been kind enough to allow us to share her story. Abi grew up on a little hobby farm halfway between Warwick and Stanthope. And the plan for Abi was always to get to uni after school but the closer she got to finishing school, the more she was confused about which direction to head. She was incredibly successful academically, but she wanted a career that she could take anywhere she went. She really loved living in the country so it was also something that she loved to do there. Her mum was an artist so she grew up in an environment that fostered creativity. So when someone suggested hairdressing, Abi decided to have a really close look at this career path. On deciding on hair Abi chose to complete the college based or fast track program, as opposed to going into an apprenticeship.  Primarily because it allowed her to work at her own pace, and to advance according to her skills. And I think also, she was really unsure about how she’d be treated in a salon environment, straight out of school.

The college program develops great foundation and basic hairdressing skills, which can then be built on in the salon environment. And for Abi with this underlying knowledge, it was a really smooth transition into the salon, when she got there on a part time basis, while she was finishing the course. She really enjoyed the college environment, working with multiple trainers, and picking up bits and pieces from everybody and exposing yourself to a diverse range of ways of doing things that she may not have seen directly in the salon. The lesson from Abi’s story is that there’s a number of paths available to enter the industry and the choices, I suppose is incredibly important in order for us to continue to attract great people like Abi. At MIG we work with many household names in hairdressing to build their teams capacity and technical skills. By understanding your business we can help provide advice, connection to services and invariably help you to leverage your greatest asset which is your people.


In-salon Educator Support

In-salon Educator Support

I thought I’d share something that’s been an important part of our education offering for salons for a number of years. Critically in working with salons to educate their teams over many years, we’ve identified a key area that lacks support. That is that there is little in the way of education for salon owners, seniors and mentors in how to train and develop their apprentices. As a Registered Training Organisation, at MIG were really well placed to see the success of salons that have a strong internal culture and a systematic way that they practically skills train their staff.

Conversely, we also see the impact that time pressures, staffing issues and the strains that are placed on running salon business has on building productivity, and a training culture. In response, as part of our apprentice builder education package, MIG exclusively offers our salon clients and barbershops a blend of hands on workshops and video tutorials for the in-salon trainers who are in charge of building the skills of their teams. The aim of this part of our apprentice builder program is to refine the training skills in cutting of those salon managers and in salon trainers, and to also share a few trends and tricks so that they can keep ahead of the education game and produce outstanding results. The program was introduced as an additional service to the salon clients we work with, but it also really extends the MIG apprenticeship training methods through the whole salon so that it helps with consistency and a really fluid outcome in the business. Our observations with the salon clients over the years have indicated that they’re so busy training their salon teams that they often forget about themselves. So this professional development helps to go a step towards that as well. And at MIG we greatly value the relationships we have with our salon clients so we’re proud that apart from the cost of the head block the program is absolutely free for MIG salons and the program is for all in-salon trainers, mentors and seniors who are responsible for building the skills of their emerging stylists.

Currently included in the program is the fundamental building blocks that make up the craft of cutting so solid, layers and graduation. And these are presented in one of three full day workshops at MIG Training. The participants also receive full access to the MIG employers lounge which includes a suite of online education tools, including videos, glossy learner guides and step by step learning resources. I suppose the exciting part for MIG is that we’ve only really scratched the surface with what we can add value to beyond delivering apprenticeship training. So filming is well underway on a comprehensive suite of resources that will expand from the fundamentals of cutting through to colour.  Plans are also afford to continue to develop the program to include a lot more in the apprentice builder resources and workshops that will cover a series of contemporary and essential haircuts, which we’ll call the MIG collection. The support we offer our salon client educators covers a wide spectrum of the fundamentals and creative parts of hairdressing education, and help support and enhance the apprentice journey and the journey that they provide to the rest of their teams as well.

We’d love to be a trusted education partner with you. If you’d like to find out how we can work together it would be great to connect. Thank you.