Dennis O’Brien achieved a Distinction in his barbering apprenticeship through Skills Group, while working at Nicky’s Garden Salon in Sidmouth.Dennis O’Brien, who is known as Junior, was one of the first learners at Skills Group to undergo the Apprenticeship Standard’s End Point Assessment for barbering, since moving from Apprenticeship Frameworks. The Standard is designed to test the key knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to succeed in the profession. Junior achieved a Distinction; the highest possible grade an apprentice can achieve under the Standard.
During the rigorous End Point Assessment, Junior had to complete a wet shave, hair-cut and a beard trim while being observed by an independent assessor.
Junior comments, “It was a challenging and nerve-wracking assessment as you have an assessor watching every move you make! I’m really pleased to have achieved a Distinction as I feel like my hard work and commitment have paid off. I travel every week from Sidmouth to Plymouth for training at Skills Group, as I enjoy learning from the trainers and the facilities are fantastic. I also want to thank Nicky’s Garden Salon for supporting me every step of the way; I’m now progressing onto my level 3 barbering qualification at the salon. In the future, I’d like to travel to Canada using my qualifications.”
Nicky Smith, Owner at Nicky’s Garden Salon, comments, “I’m very proud of Junior for achieving a Distinction. He’s worked hard at the salon and has an excellent manner with customers to put them at ease. Travelling to Plymouth every week is a big commitment and demonstrates just how much Junior wants to progress in the industry. We look forward to supporting him through his Level 3 qualification.”
Helen Morrish, Hairdressing and Barbering Team Leader at Skills Group, comments, “A huge congratulations to Junior for achieving the first barbering Distinction under the Standard at Skills Group. Junior has remained dedicated to his training throughout; even his End Point Assessor noted his passion for his craft in her report. The result also recognises Nicky’s Garden Salon for supporting Junior, as well as Skills Group’s state of the art facilities and expert trainers. Apprenticeships are a brilliant springboard to launch a career: Junior is now qualified in a trade that he can use for the rest of his life.”
Pictured left to right: Helen Morrish, Dennis O’Brien and Nicky Smith
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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!