Employer Focus - Amanda Marsden

Built on a foundation that cultivates passion for delivering excellence, Amanda Marsden opened her first salon in Totnes in 1995. Amanda’s mission was simply to deliver comprehensive training with a focus on hospitality, customer service and care that would exceed expectations. She wanted her learners to feel privileged to work within an environment that can transform a client’s day – or week.

Amanda commented “our aim is for each of our guests to feel totally transformed in a special environment.”
After the success of her Totnes salon, Amanda has gone from strength to strength opening a second salon in Exeter and achieving the much coveted Aveda salon status.

Amanda says “We believe our actions, products and services should always embody excellence. We are extremely proud to be an Aveda salon.” Aveda, founded in America in 1978 is the art and science of pure flowers and plant essences and encompasses a total body approach connecting beauty, environment and well-being. All Aveda products are organic and botanically based, derived from plants and completely cruelty-free.

Amanda is very passionate about providing a high standard of in-house training to her employees and apprentices to develop their individual creativity and flair, the staff are also encouraged to adopt this ethos by taking charge of their own personal development as well as mentoring new staff and apprentices. Aveda has also given staff and apprentices, from the salon, opportunities to attend and participate in their global competitions and events such as the Aveda Congress in America that showcase the creative talents of Aveda Artists from all over the world.

Ellie Marsden, daughter of Amanda and Manager of the Totnes salon says “These events showcase talent, passion and dedication, they are an excellent opportunity for team building and provide an educational element as you can visit where the Aveda products are made.”

Potential apprentices at Amanda Marsden salons are invited on an Experience Day before they start, this gives them the opportunity to absorb the environment and atmosphere within the salon and a chance to showcase their talent. The qualities that Ellie says she looks for in an apprentice is an individual who is loyal, keen to learn and enthusiastic combined with a confident and talkative nature and a willingness to travel.

Leah Abbot who undertook her apprenticeship at Amanda Marsden Salon through Skills Group commented “I really enjoyed my apprenticeship, it was harder than I thought it would be but the staff were really supportive, I found the one-to-one training really beneficial. I was also very fortunate and was selected to represent Amanda Marsden in Miami for an Aveda Colour Fashionista competition.” Leah has now been taken on permanently at the salon as ‘new talent’ and is starting to build up her own clientele and reputation.

Ellie’s top tip for anyone wanting to hire an apprentice would be to “go with passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn every time”.

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