British Master Barber Live 2018 was held last month at the Arora Hotel in Crawley. It was a fantastic event to network and watch some of the industries top barbers. I was asked to host two of the rooms this year; the GBBA Training Room and the Mike Taylor Education Business Room. In the Business Room I did a seminar on ‘How to get into Teaching’ – this is something I’m really passionate about. Teaching can be an incredibly rewarding job; training someone from not being able to hold a pair of scissors and see them secure their first barbering job is hugely fulfilling.
I initially got into teaching around 12 years ago because I needed staff for my barbershop and to this day it still really works. Now around 80 percent of my staff have come from my teaching programs and some even teach with me.
One of the things that I did touch on in my seminar was the intensive 10 week barbering courses but to me these work really well and I will explain why:
You have three choices when employing a barber;
- Option 1: take on a local barber. A local barber that needs a job can be a great option. You may hit pot luck and get a good one but sadly this is not always the case. Quite often you can end up with a barber that jumps from shop to shop who will be great for a month then get bored, start not showing up and leave to go to another barbershop.
- Option 2: employ an apprentice. To me this is a great option if you can find the right candidate and have the money to pay the right candidate. Apprentices are expensive and great if you have a big shop with a lot of barbers in it so they have a lot of assisting to do but sometimes not viable in a smaller shop where money is a little tighter and there is less ‘use’ for them at the beginning.
- Option 3: the dreaded 10 week course, or is it? When these first came about I had my doubts but in October 2016 I took the plunge and offered these in my Poole Academy. And why do I think they work? Because the students I get are of a good age that have been to college, sometimes had jobs that have hated, realised they need a career they enjoy and take seriously and they have decided barbering is they way to go. These students have also given up their job, saved a lot of money to do the course and also afford general living expenses throughout the course, so these students are in it to win it. They take the course seriously and work hard to achieve an NVQ in barbering.
As with all of my learners, I never let them leave until they are ready to get a job. At the academy we make sure that our learners complete around 200 haircuts on live clients, I have had some students do over 270 cuts in their time with us. I make sure they all know that all they have done with us is pass their basic training (similar to a driving test) and they will get loads better when they get out in the industry. So these guys know that they are not going to come in and just become a “Master Barber” overnight. They will need a little support but after their 10 weeks training they can be a massive asset to the barbershop and be a employee that will work for you for the next 10 years.
We all know staff is one of the biggest issues we all have so don’t write off these guys that come from these courses, arrange a trade test and find out for yourself.
The only time to me its a no no, is when the training is not certified with a awarding body.