What are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are not qualifications in their own right. Instead they are a framework with the following elements:

  • Knowledge based element
  • Competence based element
  • Transferable skills (Functional Skills, Essential Skills Wales, Core Skills, Essential Skills NI or Key Skills)
  • Employee rights and responsibilities (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Personal, Learning and Thinking skills (England only)
  • Wider Key Skills (Wales only)
They combine on-the-job and off-the-job training, with learners spending time in a business working towards a work-based qualification and time with a training provider working towards a technical qualification and transferable skills.

Although different types of Apprenticeship are available and there are differences between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, all Apprenticeships follow the same basic pattern:

  • A work based qualification that is designed to ensure the apprentice is job ready, such as an NVQ/SVQ Diploma at either Level 2 or 3
  • Transferable Skill qualifications such as communication,application of number and ICT.

Entry requirements

There are no nationally agreed minimum entry or previous experience requirements for this framework but the following criteria may be used as guidance. Because the industry has high client expectations and relies on repeat business importance is given to:

  • Appropriate personal presentation including clothing, hair, nails and personal hygiene.
  • Practical, organisational and social skills.
  • Attention to detail and cleanliness.
  • A good sense of humour/amicable nature and communication skills whether dealing face to face with clients or speaking on the telephone.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours/days as agreed in the employment contract.
  • A high degree of dexterity and coordination.
  • Potential apprentices with a predisposition to certain skin conditions or allergies, such as occupational dermatitis, eczema or asthma, need to understand that some of the units they chose may require the use of chemicals, liquids and aerosols which may have a significant affect on their health condition.
  • Potential apprentices with a predisposition to certain skin conditions or allergies, such as occupational dermatitis, eczema or asthma, need to understand that some chemicals, liquids and aerosols used in nail services may have a significant effect on their health.
  • Colour blindness may limit progress in units requiring selection and application of colouring products.
Apprentices must always be interviewed by their potential employer and training provider. They may deem enthusiasm and passion for the subject to be more important than formal qualifications. It is for this reason that the Hair and Beauty Sector has chosen not to be overly prescriptive about entry requirements.

The training provider and employer are advised to use a range of initial assessment techniques to identify any additional support needs for the Apprentice from the start of the Apprenticeship. This will ensure that those who begin have the potential to complete the programme.

It is advantageous to have had previous experience of working within the industry but is not essential.

Entry is usually at intermediate level with progression to advanced level. In circumstances where previous qualifications or experience have been gained it is possible to enter at advanced level.


Skills Funding Agency http://www.skillsfundingagency.bis.gov.uk
National Apprenticeship Service www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Welsh Assembly Government http://new.wales.gov.uk
National Apprenticeship Service www.apprenticeships.org.uk
Northern Ireland
Department for Employment and Learning www.delni.gov.uk
Skills Development Scotland www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk
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