The apprentices who are giving something back

Gary Taylor gives Helen Keane a new look
Gary Taylor gives Helen Keane a new look

ALAN Sugar may be keen to get rid of his some of his apprentices but one Brighouse organisation welcomes its former trainees back with open arms.

‘The Apprentice Gives Back’ was the theme of a week of activities at Taylor’s Training in Brighouse which was designed to encourage and inspire the current crop of young hairdressers.

And behind the accent on hair and beauty, the week had the serious aim of raising awareness of the problems encountered by people with facial and physical disfigurement all over the world.

Taylor’s Training uses the Vocational Training Charitable Trust as its accredited body for qualifications - and the trust in turn raises money for treatment and support for those suffering from facial disfigurement.

Director Sandra Tickner-Hobson said: “In a way the trust’s charity work is like the flip-side of the beauty business. Hair and beauty can be seen as quite frivolous and we are raising awareness of the many problems and disadvantages faced by people with severe physical disfigurements.”

“The trust sponsors surgery and treatment for children, it helps burns victims and people suffering from severe facial abnormalities. For the young apprentices it has been a real eye-opener to see what some people go through - and also to realise how their hairdressing training is helping others.”

During the week, former Taylor’s Training apprenticeships came back to talk to the current intake and showcase their skills, from styling and cutting techniques to mendhi henna tattoos.

One of those taking part was Gary Taylor, British Hairdresser (north west) of the Year finalist and UK Skills finalist, and employers and parents were invited along to see the trainees’ work for themselves.

Other events were led by staff who have all been apprentices and now have their own salons to show how careers can change and progress.

Said Sandra: “We hope to inspire our apprentices and to encourage them to think seriously about their careers. Many of our apprentices are only 16 when they start and making the transition from school to the world of work can be quite hard at that age. I was an apprentice myself and I’m still passionate about the business. It is very satisfying to watch someone with little experience of the workplace and few practical skills turn into a confident, assured young adult. Without putting something in at apprentice level, the hairdressing business would not survive.”

It is the first time Taylor’s Training has participated in National Apprenticeship Week which is aimed at trying to halt the severe decline in the number of apprenticeships offered in England over the last 20 years.

“We’ve had demonstrations, goodie bags and daily quizzes to make it a fun event - but also the accent has been on the VTCT’s worthwhile charity work.”