Growing up, Harry Williamson and Steven Burry didn’t know each other but both recall fond memories of being exposed to the world of hairdressing from a young age. It was these early experiences that cemented their future and upon leaving school, Harry and Steven came together as they enrolled with Cambridge Regional College to study Level 2, followed by Level 3 NVQ in Hairdressing, alongside an apprenticeship.
As a visual learner, Harry knew that he was better suited to being in the workplace than full-time study, but he wanted to gain a solid qualification. The apprenticeship allowed Harry to work, while studying and earning a salary.
Harry said, “Cambridge Regional College gave me a really solid foundation with which to enter the industry. I really enjoyed the combination of working and studying. The course gave me the confidence to succeed, and the work experience gave me a true insight into working in a salon. The skills and experience gained enabled us to start up our business.”
Steven, “I picked up so much additional knowledge working in the salon. It played to my strengths. Being in the salon environment, surrounded by the tools and equipment that I was expected to use on a daily basis, was invaluable. I remember spending a whole day learning how to hold my scissors properly.”
Harry, “Being employed as an apprentice in a successful salon set the standard for me as an individual, both in the quality of my hairdressing and the expectations of me as a professional. As well as learning my trade, I learned soft skills such as time keeping, appearance and how to be around people. Being in that environment on a daily basis teaches you things without you even realising it.”
At the time, Harry and Steven didn’t know each other particularly well, as they worked for different salons, but after working in the industry for a few years the two became good friends. Ten years ago, they came together to open their first hair salon, Halo, Sawston, and in that time the co-owners have enjoyed seeing their portfolio and business grow.
Harry and Steven now employ apprentices studying at CRC, and they talk proudly of not only being able to pass on their knowledge and experience but also being able to develop the unique skills of the young people they are training. They talk enthusiastically of the importance of working in the service industries and the satisfaction they get from supporting the next generation as they enter the industry.
When asked what advice they would give to a young person considering a hairdressing apprenticeship the duo said, “Don’t think that hairdressing is easy, it’s not! Stay focussed, get your work done and utilise all materials and support at your disposal. Allow your enthusiasm and passion to shine.”
“An apprenticeship will show you what working in a salon is really like. School is safe and nurturing. Moving into the world of work is the first step towards adulthood. Doing an apprenticeship is like being given a head start on that journey.”