Whether it is the salon owner, manager or a senior stylist who is the key person, an insalon mentor serves as the guiding force in an apprentice’s journey towards becoming a skilled and accomplished hairdresser.

They bring a wealth of practical experience, expertise, and a profound understanding of the highs and lows that can’t be learned from formal education or online.

The in-salon mentor has a critical role to play in 3 key ways:

1. Skills Development

The apprentice skills development does not happen without a mentor. Skills are grown by:

Skill Transfer: An experienced mentor is like a living encyclopaedia of hairdressing. They share their insights into cutting, colouring, styling, and all the skills accumulated over years in the trade. This practical knowledge is priceless for apprentices as they embark on their learning journey.

Real-World Wisdom: Beyond technical know-how, mentors provide essential realworld insights. They teach apprentices about the etiquette and conduct expected in a salon, effective time management, and how to navigate the challenges and triumphs of the industry. This wisdom is crucial for a successful and sustainable career.

Instant Feedback: One of the most significant advantages of an in-salon mentor is the ability to offer instant feedback. They can spot errors or areas that need improvement and provide immediate guidance, helping apprentices grow rapidly and effectively in a way that is supported.

Building Confidence: Learning the craft can be a daunting experience, but with the support and encouragement of a mentor, apprentices can build their confidence. The mentor’s approval and trust serve as powerful motivators on the path to confidence and enjoyment.

Client Interaction: Successful hairdressing is not only about cutting and colour application; it’s also about effective client interaction. Working with and shadowing an in-salon mentor imparts essential communication skills, helping apprentices understand and fulfil clients’ unique needs and expectations.

Networking Opportunities: The mentor serves as a gateway to the wonderful world of hairdressing. Apprentices get to interact with other professionals in the industry, opening doors for future collaborations, job opportunities, and personal growth.

2. Relationship Building

The mentor-apprentice relationship in a salon is akin to the passing of a torch. It’s a partnership based on trust, respect, and mutual growth. Here’s why this relationship is invaluable:

One-on-One Guidance : A mentor dedicates their time and attention to the apprentice. This one-on-one guidance accelerates the learning process, allowing apprentices to ask questions, seek clarification, and receive tailored instruction.

Customised Learning: Every apprentice is unique, and a skilled mentor can customize the learning experience to suit the apprentice’s strengths and weaknesses. This adaptability ensures that the apprentice gets the most out of their education and training.

Professional Bond: The mentor-apprentice relationship goes beyond just skill transfer. It’s a professional bond where the mentor imparts not only technical expertise but also the ethics, values, and the essence of being a hairdresser.

Inspiration and Motivation: Mentors are often a source of inspiration for apprentices. Their journey, achievements, and passion for the craft can be a motivating force that drives apprentices to excel and see a life for themselves in Hair.

3. Career Impact

The mentor-apprentice dynamic profoundly influences an apprentice’s career. Here’s how:

Uptake of Skills: With the continuous guidance and mentorship, apprentices have the opportunity to master the art of hairdressing more rapidly and comprehensively. They learn not just what works but also the subtleties that make a haircut or colour truly exceptional.

Industry Relevance: A mentor’s real-world experience ensures that apprentices are well prepared to enter the competitive hairdressing industry. They learn the latest techniques, trends, and industry standards, making them relevant and sought-after professionals. www.migtraining.com.au

Self-Assurance: As apprentices gain proficiency under the mentor’s watchful eye, their self-assurance grows. This newfound confidence is essential for success in the salon and in building a loyal clientele.

Opportunities: The mentor introduces apprentices to a network of industry professionals, opening up opportunities for collaboration and career advancement. These connections can prove invaluable in the long run.

In the world of hairdressing, an in-salon mentor is not just a supervisor; they are the architects of a career. The mentor-apprentice relationship is the heart and soul of the apprenticeship journey. With their wealth of knowledge, real-world wisdom, and nurturing guidance, mentors pave the way for apprentices to master the art of hairdressing, develop their unique style, and thrive.

As an RTO assisting salons with the formal qualification and skills training, we see it daily and can hands down say that the significance of an in-salon mentor cannot be overstated; they are the key to unlocking an apprentice’s potential, instilling the skills and confidence needed to not only cut, colour, and style hair but to also create a truly transformative experience for clients.

In a busy salon, committing the time to mentor and grow your salon team can be difficult but hairdressing has a wonderful enduring tradition of care and mentoring the next generation that continues to shape the future of hairdressing.

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.