An apprenticeship offers you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in an industry which interests you. For some, certain industries, careers or professions have always stood out, whereas others are less sure about what route is best for them.
For Level 2 Hair Professional Apprentice, Karolina Lewandowska, the decision to go into the Hairdressing industry was an easy one. Karolina had always preferred to learn practically, outside of a classroom setting, and had an avid interest in hairdressing.
Having volunteered at a local salon since the age of 15, she realised that a career in hairdressing was something for her and decided to apply for an apprenticeship.
We recently sat down with Karolina to talk about her life as an apprentice, where she discussed why she felt the apprenticeship route was best for her.
She said: “An apprenticeship offered me the opportunity to acquire the qualifications that I needed to work as a hairdresser, but most importantly, it allowed me to gain them in a real-life industry environment.”
Karolina’s course, Level 2 Hair Professional, is taught at Rotherham College, where apprentices work four days a week at their place of work and spend one day per week in College. Whilst in College, apprentices learn the knowledge and skills needed in their work, as well as having access to industry-experienced tutors, professional salons and equipment, and the opportunity to compete in industry competitions.
Karolina’s week as an apprentice starts off by attending College on a Monday, where she learns the skills needed in the workplace, such as cutting and colouring techniques as well as client consultation, before working at Nina Evelyn Hair Salon, on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Before she had developed her skills as a hairdresser, Karolina explained that at the beginning of her apprenticeship, she was taught the basics of working with clients, which she underlined as one of the most important aspects of hairdressing. Karolina started off by handling bookings and shampooing clients. As she progressed through her apprenticeship, she was given more and more responsibility and started blow drying, colouring and cutting clients’ hair.
Speaking about the learning process of her apprenticeship, she said: “After completing a module or segment at College, for example, a particular cutting technique, I would complete an assessment and once I had passed it, I would start implementing these skills at work.
Karolina Lewandowska, Level 2 Hair Professional Apprentice
“An apprenticeship offered me the opportunity to acquire the qualifications that I needed to work as a hairdresser, but most importantly, it allowed me to gain them in a real-life industry environment.”
“As I was learning all the new techniques and skills, my confidence just grew and grew. Learning step by step and developing these skills was one of the most important parts of the apprenticeship.”
She added; “As you go through this process, you learn the ins and outs of the entire service that the salon offers, as well as developing essential skills such as time management.
“If there was ever a time where I felt like I needed help with something, my employer would sit down with me after work and practice, then when I came into College, my tutor would do the same.”
Having completed the mandatory units needed for the apprenticeship, Karolina is now only one step away from being fully qualified, with her End Point Assessment being the final hurdle to pass. Being so close to finishing, we asked what she thought of her apprenticeship.
She said: “It’s been amazing. My apprenticeship offered me the chance to work in the industry with really talented people and I earned a wage whilst doing it.
“One of the best aspects of an apprenticeship is that you get to build a bond with real customers and think on your feet. I don’t think I would have gotten that sort of real-life training outside an apprenticeship.”