The Origin of MIG Training

The Origin of MIG Training

Often times, when we show people around the college, they ask about this wallpaper that is in our barber shop. This really tells a story of, I suppose, my family and then really the history of our business. So this is a photograph of my grandfather’s two chair barber shop.

Now, it was traditional in every sense of the word, you can just see in the background, the pool hall out the back. The barber shop was the tobacconist, and as family legend goes, my grandfather was also the SP bookmaker. So this photograph has my Grandfather and Dad in it.  Dad’s 76 now, but he was probably 14 or 15, in this photograph, just starting out his apprenticeship with my grandfather. So leaving school after year eight and then moving into apprenticeship, he really started to build his career from an early age.

From there, it took him to Brisbane. He opened on the smell of an oily rag his own barber shops and build his own barber businesses and growing up we used to love to go into the barber shops, and to be able to interact with all the other barbers and have such a wonderful time. And Dad also was at the forefront of the industry. He was Queensland hairdresser the year in 1971. And then, as hair went long, and the unisex salon offering really took off, he retrained himself, and then owned hairdressing salons all through the 70s while I was growing up.

It was one of those things really, though that, education was always a big part of what he did. He always had apprentices, always employed apprentices, and was always keen to impart that knowledge on to the next generation, just like his father had done for him.

I suppose that’s where the seed of education came and obviously raising a family, growing a business in hairdressing has its ups and downs. So following winning a service award, Dad then thought then here is opportunity to do some education. So he started with his brother to sort of work up and down the eastern seaboard, delivering education in retail and service and those types of things.

That really was the, I suppose the catalyst for for MIG as it is today. Once that all took off, and the TAFE system in Queensland opened up to private providers, it was his opportunity to really jump into the unknown and start to build a college.  So having a salon currently operating and taking one to three apprentices.

Now some 30 years later, with my involvement, probably for the last 17 years helping to direct and run the business, MIG is what it stands at today. And and we’re really proud of our history. And it’s something that that I suppose is just part of our DNA. We really love working with all the apprentices and the salons and barbershops that we that we now work with and seeing them do what our family have been able to do for others. And that’s really build people’s lives and careers through a career in hairdressing. We’d really love the opportunity to work with you.

And if you’d like to find out about our method and how we do things, it’d be great to connect and great to have a chat.

Thank you.



The Australian Hairdressing Council welcomes the video series REALITY BITES. This is a weekly release of short videos covering everything you need to know when running your business. Experts from all around Australia and beyond give tips and tricks for salon success. MIG’s very own Anthony Gray has a short video covering Progressing Apprentices. Enjoy!



In case you missed it, Hair Biz magazine had an amazing article called” THE NEW CREATIVES” which dives deeper into Caitlyn McMillians journey to Ella & Jade and how it all started at with a YMCA school program and ended in a full time apprenticeship at the prestigious boutique salon in Algester.



MIG were lucky enough to catch up with Gavin Hinton from Freedom Suites and find out all about his Luxury hair and beauty spaces at Freedom Suites in Paddington Brisbane.

Recently Freedom Suites has opened at a new location in Stones Corner with 19 beautifully furnished lux suites up and running. Gavin is not slowing down and has plans to expand even further with Everton Plaza opening in Jan 2020 and then expanding down to the Gold Coast in the near future.




It’s the salon with the crazy name…Horse Meat Disco Salon…which is actually owner Mikey Forster’s favourite London DJ as well as the brand of his beautiful boutique salon in Stones Corner. Since entering the Brisbane hair scene in 2012 and growing organically over the past seven years, today the Disco team sits at 12 and is a creative collective of passionate and talented stylists who completely love what they do.

As a new generation young salon owner, Mikey had a strong vision for what he wanted to present to the marketplace when it came to launching his own brand. A business that was cool and edgy, but never pompous or elitist. A welcoming hub for individuals seeking quality yet attainable hair. A playground to showcase creative aptitude upon a foundation of exceptional education and technical skills. A fun, family-like culture with outstanding client service. A salon where hairdressers loved to work and grow. A destination to BE, not to be seen.

Sticking true to his vision, the Disco (as it is affectionately known) has a sterling reputation amongst industry and clients alike. Education plays an important role, with Mikey holding the role as an Australian Colour Ambassador for Wella Professionals in Australia and New Zealand and also being one of the youngest members of Wella’s exclusive Colour Club amongst some of the industry’s finest hairdressers. His own professional development and that of his team is paramount in keeping themselves ahead of the game.

“Education is how we all grow as professionals,” Mikey tells. “I pay for all of my team’s education and I’m happy to do so, as I know it’s progressing them in their careers, plus our clients and team members are benefiting from their knowledge as well. This year I flew one of my team members to the Sassoon Academy in LA and I’ve put another stylist through the DCI Mentor Program. I’m actually attending the Not Another Academy program at MIG later this year too. These are just a few of the educational platforms we invest in.”

Mikey takes a holistic approach to education to keep his team happy and motivated. “We recently just had a wellness day at the salon that involved Dario Cotroneo coming to do a presentation on hair psychology and consultations, then we went to Total Fusion at Newstead and did a beautiful VinYin style yoga class. It’s important to look after ourselves and our minds, so doing something like this I find very helpful for the whole team. It also creates a great team environment.”

Horse Meat Disco Salon has been working with MIG Training since February 2017. The salon has signed off three apprentices and currently has two more enrolled at the college. “We left our previous RTO as the communication we had with them was zero and the content the apprentices were getting taught we felt was dated,” Mikey says. “Since changing to MIG our training is on track and we work closely to ensure that together, we are helping our apprentices as best as possible.”

MIG’s relationship with its salon clients is very much a partnership. Bespoke education programs are created to suit the apprentice as well as the salon schedule and can be a mix of college and in-salon training depending on each business’s requirements.

“My directors and I have recently created a full training schedule from start to finish for our junior stylists,” explains Mikey. “We work very closely alongside MIG to ensure we are both on the same page with training and how the apprentices are progressing. For example, we will work on solid form for approximately three weeks in in-salon training, then once deemed competent, we move them on to the next stage. If they are stars and they are competent quicker, then we progress them faster. We don’t hold anyone back.”

When it comes to looking for apprentices, Mikey says he’d choose personality over skill every time. “Finding an apprentice at the moment is the hardest it’s been for me since I opened the doors seven years ago. I’m looking for someone with an outstanding personality, and that can be tough. It’s our job to make you an amazing hairdresser, but I can’t give you a better personality or make you fit in with the team more smoothly. I have two apprentices at the moment and both of them are mature age. It costs me more, but what they bring to the salon is life experience, knowledge on how to work hard and common sense.”

So what advice would Mikey have for salons to optimise their relationship and outcomes with their chosen apprenticeship provider?

“Flexibility and communication! What we love about MIG is that we were able to take training into our own hands and do it (mostly) ourselves under their guidance. Every Tuesday evening we have in salon training nights for all of our juniors. We work closely with MIG and reference our training plan so that we are working on the same things around the same time. Once a month or so, Nicole from MIG will come to the salon and assess the team on what they have been working on. We love the way this works for the salon and couldn’t think of a better way to be training or with a better RTO!”

Mikey and his long term team member Darby hosted an up-close-and-personal colour workshop called ‘Creating a Disco Queen’ in October, showcasing four signature Disco colour techniques to nine enthusiastic attendees. They had a look’n’learn session in the morning and a hands-on session in the afternoon, where the duo helped the students to create their own Signature Disco looks on their models. According to Mikey, the feedback was incredibly positive…which no doubt means there’ll be more Disco education on the cards in 2020.

And why not? We all need a little more Disco in our lives, don’t you agree?



She’s vivacious, she’s funny and she’s also a world of knowledge when it comes to making salon businesses work. So we are thrilled to welcome the wonderful Lisa Conway to MIG Training on Tuesday 3rd September from 6pm to share her secrets on how to elevate your salon retail sales. And best of all, this seminar is 100% FREE

At this special event, Lisa will explain how client loyalty is directly connected to retail sales. “Building rapport with your clients builds trust,” she explains. “You don’t need to SELL, just TELL them what you know!”

People buy from and return to those they know and trust – don’t we all? During her seminar Lisa shows you how to build that trust – and fast!

Founder of The ZING Project, author of The Naked Salon, Your Salon Team, Your Salon Retail and an inspirational keynote speaker, Lisa is passionate about taking salon teams everywhere from good to great. She knows the core business skills that most hair and beauty professionals were never taught, which can make all the difference. She learned the hard way – through trial and error – and she worked out how to make things work. 

Seats to this FREE seminar are STRICTLY LIMITED, so book your place NOW by calling MIG Training on (07) 3349 6538 or email

Date:              Tuesday 3 September 2019
Time:             6.00pm – 8.00pm
Venue:           MIG Training Organisation
Cost:              FREE

For more information on the MIG Education Calendar as well as our apprentice training, barber training, school based training, hairdresser training, THE CRAFT teacher training and refresher short courses visit: