Apprenticeship Incentives

Apprenticeship Incentives

The start of 2021 has seen an incredible upswing in the numbers of new apprenticeship signups that’s coming through the doors. We’re really hopeful, fingers crossed that the signs of national recovery are happening in 2021. That this growth will happen across the board and it will have a huge pipeline of hairdressers coming through the system. Fueling this demand is the incredible sums of money that is coming our way through the boosting apprenticeship commencement wage subsidy. It’s a $1.2 billion scheme and it’s designed to support businesses to take on new apprentices. The funding is for all trades, but in hairdressing and barbering I suppose it’s there to attract skilled workers that can act as the future building blocks of our industry.

In real terms, the boosting apprenticeship commencement wage subsidy means that a salon who engages an apprentice might be eligible for up to 50% of their wage. That’s a maximum $7000 a quarter, amazing figures. But that’s not all, there’s more funding as well.  We’ve been blessed for new entrants, with funded programs through the job trainer scheme. Job Trainer is a $1 billion dollar by funding partnership between federal and state government and it’s designed to provide low cost or fee free courses targeted at 17 to 25 year olds who are looking for work. So what does that mean for hairdressing, it really means Certificate II in Salon Assistant.

Traditionally Certificate II in Salon Assistant is the domain of school based trainees. But what it will offer is a fee free or low cost option for organizations to provide industry with new entrants who have some basic skills and can hit the ground running. While the following list isn’t exhaustive, the qualification includes the building blocks and the key elements of that qualification include a number of things. It includes salon procedures, includes an understanding of shampoo and basin, blow drying, reception and communication, being able to greet prepare clients, and then obviously, color application and massage.

The Cert II in Salon Assistant can provide a perfect introduction to the trade for an aspiring hairdresser. And it could also, in my mind help reduce the high rate of cancellation that can be the bain of a lot of salons. Successful completion of a pre-vocational programs such as Cert II helps to sift out those who are unsure if hairdressings for them.  Ideally, a strong industry based program run by a college like ourselves will incorporate lots of industry placement and that will allow salons to have a look at potential staff and invariably try before they buy. Because of the free nature of the Job Trainer program it provides industry an unprecedented opportunity to compete for new entrants with other careers. And for us it also helps us make the most of opportunities to deliver programs in college that exciting and contemporary.

Programs will need to be really focused on developing key soft skills and furthermore, ongoing success of Cert II programs only really works if your colleges align themselves really closely with salons. In the end, increasing the number of qualified salon assistants is pointless if salon owners are unwilling to take them on due to a lack of skill, and the lack of the ability to add value. So finding ways to make that happen is really important, particularly from a college perspective, in making the skills that they have really industry relevant. For salon owners looking to access those who completed the Job Trainer, qualification or engage with those who are undertaking qualifications as part of the program over the coming months, the best course of action is to contact your RTO like ourselves, as we obviously have a huge role to play in attracting new people to our industry.

With substantial government funding in place by the boost apprenticeship commencement wage subsidy, and the new entrant job training program, it’s the first sign of green shoots and new growth for the future of the industry in some time. The challenge for us is to excite and inspire those who’ve been newly attracted to industry. But above all, the challenge is to retain and nurture those people once they come so that they decide to stay.

In-salon Apprentice Education at its Best

In-salon Apprentice Education at its Best

Hey, Anthony from MIG training. For any Paul Kelly fans out there his 2012 album spring and fall is a beautiful song cycle. It covers the journey through trials, tribulations love and loss and through the seasons. Business and education can be a bit like that. What’s old is new again, methods of training and education which at one time, you would never have considered are now on the table. And increasingly so in these times when finding staff is so difficult. We learn a lot from working with some of the best in the business. And looking at the way they train their staff, particularly those that have had experience over many years, gives us some great knowledge and insights. One example is Bach Hair here, Peter and Lee Hamner have 30 years of experience building and developing apprentices into creative and talented senior stylist. Bach Hair’s approach is summed up by Peter best when he says he loves it when art and technique come together to create fantastic hairdressing. Their team make it look easy, but it isn’t, they just train really hard.

So what are the things they do? What keeps that approach consistent? And how do they deal with the changing seasons and the difference in apprentices and staff as time goes on? Well, I suppose they do three things that are really important. One is for every new person that comes into their business, they set really clear expectations. So new apprentices and emerging stylists understand what it means to be on the floor Bach Hair.

Secondly, they provide huge amount of structure. So training for apprentices is undertaken every second Monday, the training is compulsory and paid for. The staff come together and undergo consistent and ongoing training that’s supervised by an Education Manager. And that Education Manager makes sure that there is constant monitoring and individualisation of all their training plans and commitments. Likewise, the salon managers are constantly communicating with the Education Manager to ensure that the development needs of each apprentice are met to cover it from a salon perspective.

And thirdly, they work really closely with us. So having an RTO that you can work closely with to ensure that there’s no tension in that relationship, so that everyone’s working concurrently and on the same page, it’s incredibly valuable to focus on similar things while at college and concurrently in the salon, and creates a great partnership so the apprentice can grow and feel that they’ve been invested in. So Bach have had 30 years of experience. And they’ve dealt with the seasonal changes, ups and downs, the changing seasons, technology coming to the fore, but the basic building blocks and structures remain. For example, getting scissors into the hands of an apprentice straight away, is a completely different approach to the way apprentices have been trained in the past.

So with that incredible wealth of knowledge, it’s important to understand the things that make BACH what they are and how they’ve been able to adapt. And their training system is one for all seasons and beautifully simplistic in its nature. Firstly, they set aside dedicated training time. Secondly, they communicate strongly with the RTO. And finally, they set realistic expectations for their apprentices. And they monitor their progress. At MIG training we work with a number of household names in hairdressing to help build their teams and capacity and their technical skills. If you’re looking for some advice, or would like to talk to us about how we can help, it’d be great to talk.

Give us a call.

A Crisis of Skills

A Crisis of Skills

Hey there, Anthony Gray from MIG training. As we look towards 2021, and hopefully put the year that was behind us, it brings into really sharp focus, the issue that faces most of the salons we work with, and that’s finding quality people. Building a quality team and finding the right people for your business is increasingly difficult.  This is supported by the numbers.  The numbers of apprentices in training has dropped significantly over the last 10 years,  a drop by 20% in fact and this has been combined with an increase in demand for hairdressers. The National Center for Vocational Education and Research predicts that the demand for hairdressers will top 80,000 by the year 2024. So, you can sort of see that the industry is digging a hole it’s increasingly difficult for us to crawl out of.  What do you do? 

We’re blessed to work with a number of quality salons and these salons do four things really well. Firstly, what they do is they optimize their own talent.  For those the stylists that are working for them, they work really closely with to identify the areas of education required and invest in their staff to build quality technical skills.  By building these quality technical skills across the board, it allows them to focus the team on highly productive work. It means that the low productive work can be taken from them. Staff retention and satisfaction improve exponentially when this happens.

The second thing the quality operators do really well is that they are hire for behaviour and they train for skill. Highly skilled people are great and having the complete package is the nirvana of course, but 80% of the way from a technical skills perspective is fine if you have people that have quality communication skills.  By these I mean,  the capacity to work as a team, the capacity for emotional intelligence, resilience, self-direction, and above all creativity. Gaps in technical skill can be met with training, provided you have the building blocks to work with.

Thirdly, quality salons partner with their college.  The reason they do this is to access those people, the best and brightest that are coming through. Being able to access quality graduates when required, being able to access those who are still within a course looking to build skills and to work in industry allow salons to be able to in some ways, access a production line of the next best and brightest. It also allows them to try before they buy. Vocational placement and industry trials mean that quality people find their way into the best businesses.

Finally, salons we work with that have the most success grow their own.  I know when I say that there’ll be many of you that say never again when it comes to hiring an apprentice, and I understand all the difficulties that that has and what it entails. But at the moment, there’s never been a better time to put an apprentice on. Government incentives post COVID are almost 50% of the first year’s wage.  Those dollars alone make it an important time to maybe rethink and relook at what the options are in relation to growing your own staff and to building a business from within. At MIG we’re really lucky. We work with many household names in hairdressing to build their teams including the capacity, the technical skills, the knowledge and the interpersonal personal skills that go with that. If it’s something that you’d like to talk to us about or seek some advice or to get a better understanding what your options are in relation to building your team and training your staff. We’d love you to give us a call. Thanks again.