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#NAW2018 Apprentice Case Study: Sam

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018, we’re catching up with some of our brightest apprentices who are building their careers across a range of industries, and finding out how they make a difference to the businesses from their employers.

Today we hear from Sam Hone, an Apprentice Hairdresser at Stuart Holmes Salon in Cheltenham.

19-year-old Sam, from Wiltshire, has always been a creative person and passionate about fashion, and after completing a work experience placement at Stuart Holmes, he was sure an apprenticeship at the renowned salon was the right choice for him.

Sam successfully completed his Level 2 apprenticeship last year and has recently started his Level 3; benefitting in particular from the support offered by GC.

Sam said: “My role involves supporting the stylists and I am gaining experience of the day-to-day running of a busy salon. I’ve learnt how to interact with clients and provide a five-star service, as well as knowledge on how to cut, style and colour various types of hair. I am currently undergoing my final phase of training which involves hands-on experience with clients, overseen by a senior member of the team, and once this is complete I will be working full time as a Stylist/Colourist and running my own column.

“When applying for the Level 3 apprenticeship, I had to retake some of the functional skills exams from the Level 2 and GC was so supportive in getting me through them. I felt like it could have been a barrier for me but they had great faith in me.

“My assessor is my first port of call at the College and is always willing to help me with any issues or anything I’m unsure of. Her advice has been great and she always keeps me going in the right direction.”

Sam says the structure of his training plan and the support he’s received from his salon teachers and GC has really impressed him. He was also pleasantly surprised by how quickly his apprenticeship has progressed and how fast his confidence has grown.

He added: “My apprenticeship allows me to earn money to support myself, whilst gaining qualifications and being in the work environment in which I see my future. I would always choose an apprenticeship over a full-time college course, as I feel like it gives me more learning opportunities and experiences day to day.”

Lucy Russell, Salon Manager, says that Stuart Holmes Salon loves the ability to take on apprentices and support, develop and train individuals who want a career in the hairdressing industry. They have been recruiting apprentices since the salon opened 14 years ago, and many of those apprentices are now senior-lever stylists.

She said: “Our business wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of our apprentices. They support our stylists and ensure their days run smoothly. I think it’s great that they start with the vision that one day, they will be looking after their own clients and mentoring apprentices themselves.

“We have always had such a great working relationship with GC; the Business Hub team knows us well and understands how we work as a business. The fact that our apprentices’ assessor is able to come on site for training sessions in theory and practical works with us so well.”

With so much experience in employing apprentices, the luxury salon has developed its own training programme, as Lucy explains: “Our apprentices are learning how to become hairdressers and all the practical skills that are involved in this, as well as customer service and life skills. For example, we host workshops at the salon on health and wellbeing, finances and confidence to help our apprentices deal with real life experiences.

“I don’t think there is any better way of becoming successful than having the opportunities that our apprentices do. They are living and breathing what they want to become, which I believe is the best way of learning.”

If you’re considering launching your career via the apprenticeship route, find out more about GC’s award-winning apprenticeships, meet employers and apply for live vacancies at its Apprenticeship Open Evening on Wednesday 28 March. Visit to book your place.

Why Gloucestershire College?

We have a lot of experience offering Apprenticeships and work-related training. We have industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching staff which provide the ideal complement to work-based learning.

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