Trainee hairdressing scheme changes lives in Exeter

From left to right: Mary Pugsley (Hair@theAcademy owner), Vicci Wood (Traineeship Workplace Link Adviser), Abbey Peach (Apprentice), Nicki Mills (Hair Boutique Style Director and Company Founder), Shaun Thornburgh (Hair Boutique Managing Director) and Nick Child (Learn Devon Operations Manager).

Posted on: 19 December 2016

Two long-term unemployed young mums from Exeter are embarking on new careers in hairdressing thanks to Learn Devon, Devon County Council’s adult education service.

Both Nik Langmead, who is working at Saks in Princesshay, and Abbey Peach, who is at The Hair Boutique on Musgrave Row started as trainees and have now been offered full-time apprenticeships.

They were offered the apprenticeships after graduating from a traineeship scheme run by Hair@theAcademy, a salon at Exeter Deaf Academy that provides training to disadvantaged young people.

The scheme is funded by Devon County Council’s adult education service Learn Devon.

To complete the scheme, the trainees achieved level two diplomas in hair and beauty, and spent 100 hours at their salon placements learning on the job.

Nik Langmead said:

“Doing a traineeship with Hair@theAcademy has changed my life. I have learned hair and beauty skills in such a friendly and encouraging environment, and found confidence and professionalism within myself. I am excited about my future and confident in my hairdressing ability.”

From left to right: Mary Pugsley (Hair@theAcademy owner), Tom Wilson (Saks owner), Nik Langmead (Apprentice), Vicci Wood (Traineeship Workplace Link Adviser), Annie Raine (Learn Devon Quality and Performance Manager).

From left to right: Mary Pugsley (Hair@theAcademy owner), Tom Wilson (Saks owner), Nik Langmead (Apprentice), Vicci Wood (Traineeship Workplace Link Adviser), Annie Raine (Learn Devon Quality and Performance Manager).

Tom Wilson, owner of Saks in Exeter, said:

“We are lucky to have found a talented apprentice in Nik. I cannot praise her highly enough. From day one, she has had an incredible work ethic and such a positive impact on our team. We thoroughly enjoy having her as part of our permanent team.”

Abbey Peach said:

“I am grateful for the opportunities I have received from doing my training at Hair@theAcademy, and also that The Hair Boutique has offered me an apprenticeship. I am thoroughly enjoying getting to work in a salon environment and learning new things.”

Shaun Thornburgh, Managing Director at The Hair Boutique, said:

“We’re delighted to be working with Hair@theAcademy and Learn Devon to help young people who are looking to work in the hairdressing industry. Attracting the right staff is critical to our success, and apprentices are fundamental to the future growth of our business. Seeing Abbey come through this programme and become an employee has been very rewarding.”

Four other long-term unemployed adults have also graduated from the traineeship. They have since gone on to apprenticeships, study for maths and English qualifications, work part time or undertake a higher qualification.

Mary Pugsley, who owns Hair@theAcademy, said:

“Life-changing work is being done in Exeter to re-engage adult learners into a recognised training programme and enable them to get back into work. With the support of their salons, Nik and Abbey have made a seamless journey from education to employment and are well on their way to becoming successful hairdressers.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learn Devon, said:

“Congratulations to Nik and Abbey for completing their traineeships and starting their apprenticeships. I wish them luck in their careers.

“This successful scheme shows how dedicated Learn Devon, Hair@theAcademy and the salon teams are to providing opportunities for young people to gain workplace experience, develop skills and take their next steps into employment. Without their commitment, these opportunities would not exist.”

Learn Devon will be funding more courses at Hair@theAcademy in the future. Anyone who is interested should contact Learn Devon who will pass their details on to Hair@theAcademy.

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