Shaping the future together


Starting out in Hairdressing or Barbering

There are two main routes into a career in hairdressing or barbering:

  • By studying for an NVQ at a college of Further Education
  • By beginning an ‘apprenticeship’ in a salon, which will include day release to a FE College or a Private Training Provider

Whichever route you opt for, the vast majority of those training to work as a hairdresser or barber will study toward a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ). NVQs are studied for in a framework of four levels:

Level 1: An introduction to hairdressing/barbering

Level 2: Basic and essential skills

Level 3: Technical and supervisory skills.

Level 4: Management skills.



On completion of these NVQ levels, hairdressers and barbers can move on to a Higher National Certificate or Diploma (HNC/HND) qualification or a foundation degree and higher degree level.

NVQs are also first choice qualifications, or those of an equivalent level, for those seeking official recognition on the UK Register for Qualified Hairdresser and Barbers. In most cases you will need at least a Level 2 qualification to register, while a Level 3 qualification is needed for most State Registered Senior Hairdressers or Barbers.#


Who can train as a Hairdresser or Barber?

Anyone of 16 years of age or above can train to become a hairdresser or barber. In addition there is now a greater opportunity for mature students to enter hairdressing and barbering, and an increasing number of adults are finding it possible to secure good training opportunities.

A testament to the quality of training available in this country is that British hairdressing and barbering is regarded as the best in the world.

Continual Professional Development (CPD) Training

As hairdressing and barbering is self-regulated, continual professional development is not compulsory for state registered hairdressers or barbers but is recommended.

However, the hair and barber sector is a fast-paced, fashion-led industry, where trends and techniques are always developing, therefore we recommend that you frequently refresh your existing craft and learn new skills.

For detailed information about careers in hairdressing and barbering and training opportunities within the industry, visit the HABIA website;


Apprenticeships in the UK






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What is an apprenticeship?

An apprentice learns their trade or profession through a combination of:

  • on-the-job training with an employer; and
  • off the job with a FE College or a Private Training Provider

Apprenticeships are genuine jobs that enable individuals to earn as they learn. 

Hairdressing and barbering apprenticeships typically last between one and two years for each level studied and are available at levels 2, 3 and 4. These may differ in the devolved nations of, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Apprentices who successfully complete an apprenticeship are certified as having reached a level of competence that meets current industry standards. 

Anyone over the age of 16 can become an apprentice, including existing employees. (In some cases, there is an upper age limit)

What’s in it for employers?

Taking on an apprentice is your chance to offer someone a great career opportunity and to pass on your skills and experience to a new generation of hairdressers and barbers. It’s also an excellent way to grow your own loyal workforce to suit the needs and culture of your business. 

Training an apprentice is also more cost-effective than hiring pre-skilled staff. 

In addition, as outlined in the March 2021 Budget Statement from The Chancellor of the Exchequer, employers that recruit an apprentice up to 30th September 2021 can claim a maximum £3000 payment per apprentice employed.

Find out more about hiring an apprentice on the GOV.UK website

An introduction to T Levels




T Levels (Technical Levels) are new technical qualifications for those aged 16 and above. The government, business and education department are currently still developing them. T Levels are two-year, level 3 technical study programmes leading to a specific qualification. They include a work placement of 45-60 days where ‘meaningful training’ knowledge and experience is required. It is expected that there will be hair, beauty and aesthetics T Levels in the future.

The Department for Education has announced that employers will be able to claim £1000 for every T Level student they host on a high-quality industry placement, as part of a new incentive scheme

The T Level employer incentive fund, recognises the impact of the pandemic on many businesses, and has been designed to help cover financial constraints employers may face as a barrier to hosting placements in the short term.

Employers will be able to claim £1000 for up to 20 students they host on a 45-day (315 hour) industry placement, from now until July 2022. The incentive offers businesses an excellent opportunity to tap into the emerging talent pipeline, whilst supporting the skilled workforce of the future.

Those interested in accessing the incentive payments and offering T Level industry placements should contact: 08000 150 600 (choose option 4) or fill out an industry placement contact form online: Next steps | T Levels


 A partnership between the learner, the FE College/Private Training Provider and The Hair and Barber Council, to engage learners/apprentices and the training facility in the cause towards getting the industry regulated, from the very first day of their training.

Upon completion of their training programme/apprenticeship, the learner/apprentice will automatically become a State Registered Graduate Stylist/Barber and be able to continue with their training to become a fully-fledged State Registered Hairdresser/Barber.