Veronica Savaia is a Level 2 hairdressing student working at Figo Hair and studying at Bath College. She has been working at the salon, near the Royal Crescent, since June and attends college one day a week.
Can you tell me about your apprenticeship?
I shampoo clients’ hair and help with blow-dries. I do the hair up hairstyles for the salon, no-one else does them so I really enjoy that. I do hair for weddings and proms and it’s nice to be part of peoples’ special day. Even when I’m at home, I’m practicing and watching videos so I know how to do different styles. I also have my family and friends in the salon to do their hair. I’m still building up my client base, but they know what I’m capable of.
Why did you apply for an apprenticeship?
I always wanted to do hairdressing, even before I reached the age of 14 and started working. I used to work in another hairdressers where I had a Saturday job. I like art and I’m quite creative. I chose an apprenticeship because I wanted to be in a working environment, to get my foot in the door and gain experience with clients.
What do you learn when you come into college?
At college we do practical sessions in the morning and theory in the afternoon. We talk about clients, how to greet them and how to behave in the salon. We also practice hairstyles on a hairdressing block. Some people say if you can complete a hairstyle on the block, you can do it on anyone because it’s harder – it depends on the hair, but the blocks aren’t sectioned in the same way as human hair. It’s been good to meet other students who are at the same level.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy being part of the team. We have five to six people working in the salon each day, and because we’re a smaller team I can build up a good relationship with people. We get a lot of young clients and clients who are retired. We’re really precise about what we do, and we talk to clients to try and make them feel at home. It’s about their experience visiting the salon, as well as the haircut. I enjoy seeing regular clients come in.
What advice would you give someone considering an apprenticeship?
It’s really important to think about the kind of salon you’re working in. You might want to start a career in hairdressing, but you need to find somewhere you enjoy working and somewhere you’re able to grow. Studying for a hairdressing apprentices takes two years, instead of one year on a full-time course. However, you’re earning money, you’re already gaining work experience and you’re treated as an adult. If you’re studying a full-time course, it might be harder to find a job with less experience.
What are your hopes for the future?
I already have my job, and they want me to stay there when I’m qualified. I earn less as an apprentice, but when I’m qualified (and I’m working on more clients) I’ll be paid more. I’m happy with where I am at the moment, because I know this will be good for me in the long-term. In the future, I could have the option to open my own salon using the experience I’ve gained.