In the November issue of HAIRBIZ we explored the importance of an in-salon mentor to the success and development of apprentices. Working hand in glove with a dedicated mentor is the critical role that creating the space, time, and a disciplined approach to in-salon training has on the individual and the team.

Hairdressing apprenticeships are the foundational stepping stone for individuals to engage with and embrace a career in Hairdressing.

A fundamental component that profoundly shapes an apprentice’s journey toward having the skills and confidence to thrive in the industry is the provision of dedicated in-salon training time.

As an RTO we see best practice in this area and witness first-hand the significant impact of dedicated training time. We also see the most effective strategies used to implement structured training time in a busy commercial salon environment.

There are 4 significant impacts of dedicated insalon training time.

Practical Application of Knowledge: Formal learning and theoretical knowledge forms the solid foundation of an apprentice’s learning. However, its practical application within a real salon setting that is indispensable.

Dedicated in-salon training time bridges the gap between theory and practice, enabling apprentices to translate their classroom learning into tangible skills. This hands-on experience is crucial for comprehending the nuances of various technical skills, product applications, and salon processes.

Guidance: Direct mentorship from seasoned professionals during in-salon training is invaluable. Apprentices benefit immensely from the wisdom, guidance, and constructive feedback provided by experienced stylists.

Working alongside senior stylists fosters a supportive learning environment, enabling apprentices to hone their skills and gain insights that go beyond what textbooks can offer.

Client Interaction and Professionalism: By dedicating time to training it allows interaction with salon clients in a controlled and supervised way. This is a pivotal aspect of every apprentice’s growth. Through this interaction, apprentices develop essential interpersonal and customer service skills.

They learn to communicate effectively, understand client needs, and deliver satisfactory results. This practical exposure enhances not just their technical abilities but also their professionalism and puts the client at the centre of everything they do.

Exposure to Salon Dynamics: Training within the salon environment provides context for all of the formal training they have been undertaking Training within the salon environment exposes apprentices to the intricacies of salon operations. Not only do they learn the skills of the trade, but they gain first-hand experience in managing time, handling multiple tasks, and collaborating within a team. Understanding the dynamics of a salon prepares them for the fast-paced and demanding nature of the industry.

Understanding the significant benefits that comes from dedicated training time is one thing, but it is another thing entirely to then implement that effectively in a busy fast paced salon.

Some of the best approaches to creating dedicated training time we have seen include:

Structured Training Programs: Salons should design structured training programs that allocate dedicated hours specifically for apprentices. These programs must outline a comprehensive skills-based timeline that covers a range of skills, from basic to advanced techniques. Structured learning objectives and in-salon assessments should be incorporated to track an apprentice’s progress effectively.

A multi skilled approach: Giving apprentices early exposure across all aspects of hairdressing by rotating through all parts of salon life at an early stage of training —such as cutting, colouring, styling, and client consultation—provides a holistic understanding what is involved in the life of a hairdressers. It serves to inspire, engage and fosters respect for the journey they have embarked on.

Hands-On Practice Sessions: Allocating designated hours for hands-on practice, preferably during quieter periods, allows apprentices to refine their skills without interrupting the salon’s regular workflow. These practice sessions are crucial for mastering techniques and building confidence.

Personalised Mentorship: Assigning a senior stylist to each apprentice ensures personalised guidance and support. These mentors offer constructive feedback, share industry insights, and tailor learning experiences to suit individual strengths and areas requiring improvement.

Continuous Assessment and Development: Regular assessments and feedback sessions enable a systematic evaluation of an apprentice’s progress. Identifying strengths and areas needing improvement allows for targeted training and skill enhancement.

Encouraging Continuous Learning: Supporting apprentices to seek external learning opportunities, such as education with product company partners, including: workshops, seminars, or online courses. All of this fosters a culture of continuous learning. It supports and validates the in-salon training the apprentice is receiving. This proactive approach keeps them abreast of industry trends and innovations.

The provision of dedicated in-salon training time yields many benefits. Hands-on practice within a salon setting facilitates the mastery of various hairstyling techniques, leading to a higher level of skill proficiency.

Practical experience gained during training instils confidence in apprentices, shaping them into poised and professional individuals capable of handling salon responsibilities effectively.

Equipped with practical skills and a thorough understanding of salon operations, apprentices seamlessly transition into the role of a senior hairdresser, ready to contribute meaningfully within the salon environment.

But above all salons that invest in comprehensive training programs often retain skilled apprentices who feel valued and loyal. This retention of talent significantly contributes to the salon’s success and reputation. Dedicated in-salon training time is an indispensable aspect of an apprentice’s journey toward becoming a proficient stylist.

By prioritising hands-on training, mentorship, and structured learning, salons not only nurture capable stylists but also invest in the future of the industry. This investment ensures we are growing the talent pool of capable and confident Hairdressers.

Anthony Gray is a Director of MIG Training. MIG is the trusted apprenticeship education partner for many of the leading salons and barbershops in QLD. Anthony is the Education and Training Director for the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC).


HAIR BIZ is the only magazine of its kind which offers a comprehensive look at both the business and image side of the hair industry. It provides salon owners with tools and information to be more successful and knowledgeable when it comes to business skills as well as keeping them informed with trend forecasts, interviews, profiles, news, reviews and product info.