Employer Focus: Meet our new employer, YOKE

We are delighted to introduce our newest employer: aspirational, stylish and eco-conscious YOKE. The salon is perfectly situated on the beautiful Royal William Yard, and is run by a highly experienced husband and wife team, Jo and Steve, and staffed by eight skilled stylists. Due to the popularity of the salon, the team is now looking to expand, and has chosen to partner with Skills Group to find two to three hair apprentices. We caught up with Jo to find out more about the business.

“Our team is committed to creating beautiful hair, making people feel good about themselves, and delivering exceptional customer service. Each new customer comes in for an in-depth consultation to review their face shape, life style and colour needs to ensure every hair experience at the salon is perfectly tailored. YOKE not only keeps up with local trends, but pays attention to what is happening in London and globally in the industry. The salon is one of only a few in Plymouth to use L’Oreal products, one of the very best in the industry, and every stylist is a specialist in their field. The team have an impressive number of accolades between them, from national competition wins to achieving a position of ghd Brand Warrior. Apprentices will learn from experts, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in training nationwide.”

Jo and Steve both have a wealth of experience in the industry, having started out their career in Cheltenham before working at an exclusive salon in Sydney, Australia for two years. Steve’s training has included courses delivered by top industry professionals including Eugene Souleiman, Rudi Lewis, Adee Phelan, Trevor Sorbie, the Vidal Sassoon art team, Cobella and Charles Worthington. Jo has worked on industry-leading fashion and hair events including London and Sydney Fashion Weeks and British Hairdresser of the Year. She qualified as a L’Oreal Colour Specialist in 2016 and has been selected as a prestigious L’Oreal ID artist 2018-2019 after an intensive recruitment process, travelling around Europe to promote the brand and attend L’Oreal events.

“The salon is involved in lots of creative content. We’ve styled the hair for the cover shoot of Manor Magazine, and worked with a large number of local brands and photographers. Our apprentices would be involved in these projects. We treat our apprentices as one of our hair stylists – our current apprentice is a central member of the team, and is open to the same opportunities as everyone else. Soon all our stylists will be officially employed by us, instead of being self-employed and renting the space in the salon. This is very unusual in the city and means that at the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentices do not have the worry of having to grow their own clientele.

“Our standards are very high and so we expect our apprentices to work hard, however they will be rewarded with the chance to gain unrivalled experience in the industry and exciting career development opportunities”.

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