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 MIG Method

The MIG Method

I just like to talk to you a bit about our principles and method for education.
What we feel makes us unique is that we have a set of education principles that recognize the burning issues and problems that our salons and barbershops face. We work with these boutique businesses to really help them deliver a profitable business that provides them with peace of mind through their people. We call this their “Signature Salon Team.”

Many of our clients feel that they’re working tirelessly for little reward and ever increasing worry and they really face three common problems; firstly, uncertainty in finding and retaining quality hairdressers and barbers. Secondly, sleepless nights that are associated with having a team that’s not functioning quite right. And finally burnout from juggling all the balls at once, as an owner, stylist, marketer, counselor and financial controller. So the prize that our clients are seeking is profit, peace of mind and above all that their salon or barbershop is an expression of their personality in essence to create this signature salon team.

At MIG, our signature salon method has four principles that we think are really important and helps our clients to stand out, make an impact and grow their business. These elements are: design, professionalism, technical skills, and communication. So, having efficient systems, creates the space to build your team and are a critical design element. Being professional sets the standard. Living that standard attracts quality people, quality clients and industry recognition. Technical skills, team knowledge and skills that are on point creates a team that can take on any new challenge that’s put in front of it. And finally communication, having a clear identity. Sharing of those ideas creates a cohesive team and creates industry recognition.

At MIG, we use the four step signature salon method in our flagship apprentice builder program, and it really turns the Certificate III on its head. Understanding the problems and the prize helps us to build a program that meets all the needs of our salons that we work with. The apprentice builder program provides customised in-salon training plans. They provide Salon supervisor coaching and mentoring. It sets the standard for the individual apprentice to follow, but also provides a gateway to industry through our education partners. It has a strong technical skills focus, but one that deals with culture, communication and consultation.

We do this in an anywhere anytime digital learning and assessment platform, which then combines the practical hands on skills education. We have dedicated mentors, as well as formal progression and skills accountability, and above all access to a community apprentices and peer support that’s second to none. We work with many great names in hairdressing. We’d love to connect with your business to be able to help you create your signature salon team. And as we say to all of our students each and every day, Be Brave, Have Fun, 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.


Know Your Client

Know Your Client

The salons we work that do exceptional things, know their client particularly well. As a Salon, the challenge of building a client base can result in you attempting to grab every opportunity and attracting every possible person that comes past your door and the inherent fear is that if you focus on your ideal client, then you’ll let opportunities pass you by. The reality is, though, that being everything to everyone just dilutes your offering. Conversely, the closer you’re able to get to targeting your ideal client, the higher the perceived value of your services.

 Competition for clients is at an all-time high and attempting to compete across a broad range of potential services that are salon can offer only leads to a large number of average products and services that don’t provide an exceptional experience to anyone. The salons that have the greatest success have a myopic focus on their segment, they focus on a segment they’re passionate about and that they can provide a remarkable service to – and it’s a game changer. Delivering a remarkable service that people really value results in, then being able to charge a premium, and then being able to double down and offer even more value.

 The benefits of targeting a clearly defined niche are broad; firstly, it removes you from competing on price and invariably the race to the bottom that can happen when price becomes an issue. It allows you to focus on what you’re passionate about—your tribe—referral goes through the roof as a specialist provider and it results in exponential growth. Industry recognition is also an important aspect; if you’re recognised as an authority in the eyes of industry, then potential consumers see that value as well. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can’t service those outside of your clearly defined niche. In the end, your target is not your market. If you’re renouned for meeting the needs of a clearly defined group of people, then you’ll attract clients from across the spectrum, based on the authority and value that you provide. In saying all that, getting a really clear handle on your niche isn’t easy. You need to ask targeted laser focus questions. You need to drill down, you need to say “who is that single person? What is my ideal client? Where do they live? How do they think? How do they behave?”

Secondly, are you able to truly deliver something remarkable to that person? Thirdly, do they have the capacity to pay a premium for the outcome that you want to provide? And finally, do you have an affinity for them? Do you have a passion for the services that these people require? A clear target is the foundation really on which everything is built in your business. Understanding everything there is to know about your ideal client means an understanding of their burning problems. A deep understanding then allows you to tailor truly remarkable products and services. In the end, it allows you to make a difference in people’s lives. For your business that allows you to build a loyal fan base that’s second to none. At MIG we work with many salons and see the fruits of their labor in relation to targeting and niching. We help them to educate their people.

 If you’d like to have the opportunity to talk about how we can help, we’d love to connect. Give us a call.