Employer Focus: Arena, Plymouth City Centre

“I was an apprentice myself, so I know the benefits of this type of training in the industry – both for the learner and for the business hiring them”.

We caught up with Lara Wintle, the Director and Owner of Arena, to find out how apprentices have benefitted the boutique, stylish salon. Arena has gone from strength to strength, and is now regarded as one of the city’s most exclusive salons, using luxurious products and boasting a busy clientele.

“Apprentices are the backbone of the business – we’re lost when one of them are on leave. They get involved in a wide variety of tasks from washing hair and blow drying to welcoming customers at reception. We give them a lot of responsibility here.

“We currently have four apprentices through Skills Group; I wouldn’t use another provider. I trained with Skills Group myself, so know the high quality provision the company offers. They are always on hand to offer support and guidance. If an applicant comes directly to us, I recommend that they achieve their qualifications through Skills Group.

“Our newest apprentice, Natasha, has only been with us for six weeks but I am very pleased with her progress. She is mature, switched on and enthusiastic, and will be an asset to the business.

“My advice to learners who are looking for an apprenticeship is to go into the organisation and introduce yourself – get yourself out there. Offer to do a trial day so that the employer can get a sense of who you are and your work ethic; it’s the best way to make a strong impression.

For companies thinking about hiring an apprentice, I’d recommend interviewing as many candidates as possible. Always run a trial day – at Arena, we even run a trial week – and then ensure you have a probationary period. Go over the legalities of an apprenticeship carefully, and if you don’t understand, make sure you ask your provider.”