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The Role

Hairdressers cut and style hair. The opportunities available in hairdressing are endless. Never have there been so many exciting possibilities at the cutting edge of the fashion, style and grooming business. The majority work in salons, where they build up a client list after a period of time. Some may work from home, once they have enough clients to afford to do so. And a small percentage may go into hairstyling in industries such as fashion, film and TV, doing hair for photo shoots, fashion shows, or filmed sequences.

While it looks like – and can be – a glamorous job, it is also very demanding. A hairdresser needs stamina, as they will be on their feet all day. They need to be sociable and open-minded, as they will have many customers from very different backgrounds. And they need to be creative, keeping up with the latest trends so that their work is up-to-date with what’s happening.


How to get into hairdressing

UK hairdressing is rightly regarded as the best in the world. Much of this is to do with the high standard of our qualifications. Without these qualifications you're unlikely to get far. The commonly accepted route is to take NVQs in hairdressing, which can be studied for whilst working. NVQs are a great way for candidates to gain practical experience, learn and earn money at the same time. 

NVQs focus on different skills that hairdressers need, such as shampoo and conditioning, colouring and cutting hair, through to healthy and safety laws and working in a salon reception. There will be regular training and assessment of candidates and their progress.


The standard qualification for hairdressing is NVQ/SVQ Level 3, which can be studied at most colleges. However, one of the most useful qualifications that can give you the all-round skills needed to be a success is the Modern Apprenticeship. Allowing you to train for an NVQ/SVQ in hairdressing, Modern Apprenticeships also allow you to work in a salon at the same time, thus earning a wage and gaining valuable work experience as early as possible.

Qualifications and experience

Institutions that provide NVQ training have different qualification requirements for entry, although 2 GCSEs to a Grade E level or above are usually needed.


Salary expectations

The average salary is £21,000. Trainees usually start on minimum wage, while fully trained stylists can earn £10,000 to £20,000. It is possible for stylists at the top of their profession to earn upwards of £40,000.


Useful websites

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