Leading learners across Wales by example

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Leading learners across Wales by example

ISA training in Bridgend encourages its learners to take a holistic view of their career path and has inspired Hair and Beauty learners to become state registered. The training company has undertaken a major national campaign to raise the profile of the level 3 qualification needed for state registration, ensuring that their own learners feel genuinely motivated to advance within the industry as well as sharing this message with other learners across Wales.

Date of Estyn visit: February 2013

Context and background to sector-leading practice

ISA Training (ISA) was established in 1998 as a privately-owned, work-based learning provider, based in South Wales. ISA delivers work-based learning programmes throughout Wales and South West England, predominately in the hair and beauty sector. In Wales, programmes are funded by the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

Programmes include Foundation Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships, and Flexible Funded Learning. ISA also delivers traineeships in hair and beauty on behalf of ITEC, as well as programmes for 14 to 19-year-old learners in schools in Wales. In addition to work-based learning programmes, ISA also delivers a range of commercial courses to the hair and beauty sector.

ISA Training gives learners a holistic view of their chosen career path in the hair sector and has an excellent reputation for being the expert training provider in this area.

One of ISA’s three main strategic aims is ‘to achieve excellence:- ensure quality delivery and identify and demonstrate sector-leading practices in the hair and beauty sector’.

Of current importance is the call to regulate the industry by means of state registration / regulation. The Hairdressing Council was established by an Act of Parliament in 1964. The intention of this body was to achieve mandatory state registration for hairdressers and bring the UK into line with other professions throughout Europe. Although the mandatory section of the Act was not secured, Parliament agreed to voluntary state registration.

The Hair and Beauty Sector Skills Council (HABIA) states that level 3 hairdressing apprenticeship programme is the recognised professional level in the sector. In the UK, typical progression rates from level 2 to level 3 qualifications are less than 28% for hairdressing.

ISA’s strategy encourages all educators and trainers working in the sector to inspire their students and learners to become state registered.

The importance of state registration to the professionalism of the industry is highlighted at induction so learners understand the value of their vocation at the outset of learning.

Nature of strategy or activity identified as sector-leading practice

As part of ISA’s aim to lead by example, since 2008, all learners on level 3 training programmes, who complete their apprenticeship are state registered, with their registration fees funded by ISA Training for the first year of registration. ISA hairdressing staff must be state registered to be employed by the company. In 2011, ISA’s managing director Shirley Davis-Fox was appointed to the Hairdressing Council, the only member representing Wales. This is a positive step in influencing the hair sector and raising the profile and uptake of state registration in Wales.

Shirley continually endorses state registration in the media. This has included high-profile appearances on BBC Radio Wales as well as contributions to the Western Mail, sector journals and at national hair and beauty conferences.

As part of a recent campaign tour of Wales, Shirley visited salons and further education colleges to talk to learners, employers and lecturers highlighting the importance of state registration. She has also met with Welsh Government Members who pledged their continuing support to promoting state registration.

Additionally, ISA secured agreement from the Pan Wales Hair and Beauty Network that Wales will aim to ensure that by 2015, three-quarters of learners undertaking an advanced apprenticeship through work-based learning or full-time education are state registered.

Only master craftsman and hairdressing celebrities who are state registered are invited to attend Salon Cymru, ISA’s annual hairdressing competition. This requirement helps reinforce the message that state registration is the way forward to a successful career in the industry.

Emphasising the importance of state registration enhances the prestigious nature of the level 3 qualification, making it more desirable for learners to continue their training. This approach will ultimately improve skill levels in the sector. ISA is proud to be pioneering this strategy in Wales.

Seeing the campaign constantly in the media spotlight gives ISA learners the confidence that their ISA trainers are truly passionate professionals who care about the future of the industry in which they are starting their career.

Impact on provision and learners’ standards

Over a three year period since the start of the promotion and take up of state registration, learners’ attainment on the level 3 hairdressing apprenticeship programme has increased by 14%. This strategy has also had a significant impact on the employability standards in the sector, as state registration encourages salon owners to professionalise their workforce and recruit high-quality personnel.

Registered learners are invited to a prestigious ceremony at ISA’s Salon Cymru to receive their certificate in front of approximately 500 sector professionals. The certificates are presented by the registrar of the Hairdressing Council and high-profile celebrity hairdressers who support state registration. Photos are published in ISA’s magazine ‘Hot Gossip’ and the Hairdressing Council’s journal, which promotes state registration to others.

As a result of the campaign, ISA training has spoken to over 1000 learners across Wales about the importance of becoming state registered. To date 350 learners across Wales have become state registered since 2008.