Employer Focus: Skin Deep Hair

Skin Deep Hair salon in Plympton offers a professional, welcoming and personalised service. The salon has been a fixture on the Ridgeway for 30 years and has grown and evolved over the years to remain at the forefront of current trends in the industry. The team, headed by owner Nikki Willson, is committed to continually developing staff skills and the salon has an established reputation for top-class service.

We caught up with Nikki to find out more about the successful salon, how they’ve adapted to the current situation, and how apprenticeships work for the business.

“I started my hairdressing career as an apprentice at Skin Deep Hair 20 years ago. When the salon later came up for sale, I jumped at the chance to purchase it and return to working here – this time as the owner. Many of our staff also started as apprentices and have then remained at the salon for years afterwards, which is testament to both how much we value our apprentices and also how much our team enjoy working here!

“Apprentices are vital to our salon – we couldn’t run the business without them! When an apprentice starts with us, we build up their experience gradually and also help them to develop confidence in their tasks and when dealing with customers. It’s important that they feel they can ask for help when they need it, and that it’s ok to make mistakes as long as they learn from them.

“Our apprentices have access to fantastic training, development and career enhancing opportunities – for example, one of our apprentices, who now works for us as a permanent member of the team, was shortlisted in the National Hair Federation (NHF) Hair & Beauty Business Awards in the ‘Best Apprentice’ category as recognition for her hard work.

“The salon continues to grow and we are looking to hire more apprentices. We have just expanded the salon to now also offer beauty services, so it is a very exciting time to join us. We are committed to ensuring the highest levels of health and safety for both our customers and staff, and therefore we have implemented COVID-19 approved safety measures as we welcome our customers back and grow further – this includes an appointment only service, PPE and shift bubbles for our staff, social distancing, and asking our customers to wear masks.

“We have worked with Skills Group for a long time and have always found the team to be helpful, easy to contact, and offer a friendly service”.

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