Employer Focus: Envy, Plymstock

“We’ve always taken on apprentices as it seems the most natural way to recruit new talent into the industry. Apprenticeships allow you to impart your knowledge onto the learners, and provide a way to embed your values and beliefs early on so that they grow with the vision of your business”.

Envy in Plymstock is a chic salon staffed by a team of talented stylists who all share a genuine love of hairdressing. The team is headed up by owner Tracie Gunningham who is well known for her passion and expertise in the industry, having first opened her own salon in 2002. We sat down with Tracie to discuss the value of hiring apprentices to her business.

“We chose to work with Skills Group as I’ve had a close relationship with the Managing Director for years. She used to be a hairdresser and therefore implicitly understands the needs of this industry. Skills Group has been excellent to work with. The team is always supportive and has a way of making me feel valued as an employer. They ensure I am kept up-to-date with important developments, but do not inundate me with information I do not need. For me and my business, there is no other training provider that I would consider”.

Lilly Rule is currently working on her Level 2 Hairdressing apprenticeship at Envy through Skills Group.

“Lilly is the perfect example of how vocational training can really work. Some individuals are not traditionally academic but excel in other areas. She is a breath of fresh air and a complete professional. She has definitely helped the business. We already have clients who allow Lilly to work on their hair which is a huge compliment; she is sowing the seeds for her future clientele. I feel very lucky to have found her and she is an asset to the team.

“My advice to other salons who are thinking of taking on an apprentice would be to not look solely at exam grades. While a degree of intelligence is of course important, instead look for positivity, a willingness to learn, and how they present themselves. Eye contact and people skills are also key, as hairdressing is a customer facing role.

“We will absolutely continue to hire apprentices in the future, we even have a new one lined up for the summer!”

I just wanted to say the biggest thank you to Vanessa, my trainer. You have made my journey so much easier, I don’t know what I would have done without you. You have been amazing and helped me to achieve my qualification. You’ve guided me through every step of the way, I really appreciate it, Vanessa, you have been my rock.

Katie Shorland, Level 2 Hairdressing

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School