Learner Success Stories

An interview with Jade Luke - Winner of South East Apprentice of the Year at the British Hair and Beauty Awards and Third Place for the ITS Best of British Photographic Competition for the Intermediate Level.

ITS Apprentice Jade Luke won the South East Apprentice of the Year at the British Hair and Beauty Awards. Jade works at Remington Hair Salon in Farnham, Surrey and not only won this competition but also came third in this year's Intermediate Level of the ITS Photographic Competition.

The requirements of entering the British Hair and Beauty Awards Competition were to provide client testimonials, provide before and after photographs of her models' hair and write about herself and her achievements. Jade was able to write about other competitions that she had entered including the 2016 ITS Photographic competition at which she gained 2nd place in the Intermediate level. Jade was also placed in 2nd position at the KJM Competition last year by creating a mohican hairstyle.

Jade's interest in hairdressing began whilst she was still at school. She attended an after school club that was run at Remmington Harrow. The members of this club learned about hairdressing and how to blow dry and plait each other's hair. Jade then became a Saturday girl at the salon before becoming an apprentice.

When asked what she loves about hairdressing Jade said that she loves making someone happy by doing their hair and she loves chatting. Her favourite part of hairdressing is colouring and making a big change. Jade says that being a hairdressing apprentice is hard work, but it is also very rewarding.

Jade's next steps are to complete her apprenticeship, which she hopes to do in the next couple of months and then do her trade test which involves being set various hairstyling and colouring challenges to undertake. Once Jade has passed her trade test she wants to work as a hairdresser at Remington Harrow.

Jade is very ambitious but is unsure as to how her career path will pan out, but knows that she wants to be successful in whatever she does and with her track record so far, it's looking very promising that she will be.

Interview with Leanne Humphries, Owner of Velvet Rooms 4 Hair in Chobham, and Velvet Rooms for Hair and Beauty in Sunningdale, Surrey

Leanne began her hairdressing journey in a salon working as a Saturday Girl when she was 14 to earn some money. After finishing her A Levels she embarked on a degree in Film and Television, aiming to do some back stage work upon completion, however after a year and at the age of 18 Leanne left and began her level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship in Hairdressing with ITS. She did this because she remembered how much she had enjoyed working in the salon and wanted to train to become a hairdresser, despite her parents thinking that it wasn't a good move because her A Level Grades were As and Bs. Leanne loved being an apprentice and said that it was hard work, tiring and great fun. She would find a joy in folding towels and making everything pristine clean. Leanne had to find her own models and would hand out flyers in the High Street, and her salon had contacts in local schools and so they would get models in this way.

In her own words Leanne became a 'Hair Geek'! She was obsessed with learning her craft and took every opportunity to improve her skills. Being slightly older than the other salon apprentices and having worked in a pub as a team leader for a brief spell, she was given the title Head Junior. This meant that she was in charge of organising the other juniors lunch breaks etc., stock taking and cleaning. Leanne kept her tasks up to date all of the time to free her up some time to watch the hairdressers working in the salon at all opportunities and she would go into the salon on her day off so that she could watch and learn. She was such a 'Hair Geek' that all of her Christmas presents were to do with hairdressing e.g. Vidal Sassoon Cutting Book, Scissors etc. Leanne also did her friends and family members' hair at any opportunity. Leanne completed her apprenticeship in 11.5 Months which was allowed at the time.

Following on, Leanne worked as a stylist for a couple of years to improve her skills, knowledge and techniques before signing on for her Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. Leanne said that she was already working at Level 3 when she began this apprenticeship and so it was more like a tick box exercise for her. The reasons that Leanne gave for loving her job as a hairdresser are the social side, being creative and the feel-good factor. Receiving praise and helping people to have fabulous hair gives Leanne a great buzz. Leanne loves all aspects of hairdressing and prefers a variety in her day.

Prior to owning her salon in Chobham, Leanne's career included some exciting work at London Fashion week and working for L'Oreal. After completing her Level 3 Apprenticeship and qualifying as an assessor Leanne worked as a stylist and an assessor for 2 to 3 years, and at the age of 25 years made the big decision that she wanted her own salon. She had wanted to be her own boss since the age of 13 to 14 as her parents were both self-employed and had instilled into her that you reap what you sew.

Leanne says that owning your own business is challenging, on your mind 24/7 and you spend lots of time fire-fighting. She has had to turn her hand to lots of tasks that don't fit the remit of a hairdresser e.g. plumber, IT specialist, therapist. She says that it is rewarding when you have amazing staff that you've trained. Leanne still loves learning as well as training.

Leanne's advice to someone thinking of a career in hairdressing is to say that it's not the easy option that lots of people think it is, to really succeed you have to be a hair geek. Learn as much theory as you can and science and be a multi tasker. To be the best that you can be you have to put the time in.

An Interview with the 2016 Advanced Level Apprentice ITS Photographic Competition Winner, Hollie Vowels.


Hollie who is joint owner of Route 6 salon which is in Liphook, Hampshire, entered the Advanced Level photographic completion when she began her Apprenticeship in 2015 and then again just before finishing in 2016. Hollie came third in 2015 and was then determined to win in 2016.

When Hollie learned that the theme for the 2016 competition was 'Enchanted Spirits' she immediately thought of fairies and has a friend who has 'fairy' facial features and so asked her be her model. Hollie made a mood board to reflect her thoughts and began to plan her hairstyle by drawing it. She had a practice attempt and had to change her idea as the model's own hair wouldn't cover the hair extensions as she wanted it too. Hollie used blue hair extensions for the back of the hair winding some around the front of the hair also, and the top of the hair had a hair extension included to increase the volume of the hair. Hollie used Plaits and back-combing to create the style.

Hollie dressed her model in a lace top and did the makeup including the use of bright pink false eyelashes which match up the small spray of pink hair on the top of the model's hair.

Hollie took the photograph herself in her Mum's garden and it took a few hours. Hollie has her certificate and the winning photograph, along with others that she took of her model displayed in her salon. Hollie said that a photographic competition is the best type of hairdressing competition for her as she didn't have to go on a stage in front of lots of people to talk about what she had done, and she loves photography and so it gave her the opportunity to enjoy this aspect of the competition as well.

Jodie Perry, Training Development Executive at Academy Salons, Hersham, Surrey. Jodie's Hairdressing Journey

Jodie Perry was just 13 when she got her first job in a hair salon. She soon realised that this was an ideal job for her as it involved Fashion, being creative, it was social, it gave her the feel-good-factor and getting her hair done was a major perk. Also, she was not overly academic and knew that she wanted a practical job. Jodie started work and her apprenticeship at The Academy in Hersham when she was 16.

Jodie was the 1stapprentice that The Academy had had who was taught in the salon and ITS were the apprenticeship provider. She enjoyed her apprenticeship experience because as well as learning and working hard, it was also fun. She had a great team at the salon who were very supportive of her and her training. Jodie actually managed to complete her Level 2 NVQ in just 1 year and was rewarded by ITS for this achievement, which gave her a great boost. Jodie went on to do her Level 3 NVQ and her A1 Qualification which qualifies her to assess the apprentices' work.

Jodie loves the colouring aspect of hairdressing the most; she loves colour corrections and new colouring techniques. She is also motivated by short haircuts. Jodie's love of her work is what motivates her to share her passion through training which plays a big part in her career today.

Jodie loves being a hairdresser and although is very involved in training and assessing the 12+ apprentices employed at the 5 Academy salons which expanded from the 1 salon in Hersham, she will always have her own customers as she loves being a hairdresser. She says it is a sociable job, she enjoys making people feel good, she is able to be creative and she loves working in a team.

Jodie's ambition is to expand the Training School, with more Trainers and Learners, and to hold courses and help hairdressers from other salons to develop their skills.

The advice that Jodie would give to a young person considering hairdressing as a career is to go into it if you are passionate about doing hair and you are interested in the latest hair fashions. Don't choose it as a fall back career, it is more than that, and it needs you to put your all into it in order to realise the rewarding career that it is.

An interview with the 2016 Intermediate Level Apprentice ITS Photographic Competition Winner, Amy Luff

Amy Luff, who works at Emotive Hair Salon in Reigate, was our 2016 Intermediate Apprentice Photographic Competition Winner.

Amy was 9 months into her 2 year Intermediate Apprenticeship when she entered the 2016 ITS Photographic Competition with 'Enchanted Spirits' as the theme.

To gain inspiration for the hairstyle that Amy created she looked through magazines, and she thought of colours that represented an enchanted forest to her, which were deep greens and blues. Amy then created a mood board.

Amy decided that plaits would represent the forest path and that a backcombed 'candyfloss' look would represent bushes. She decided originally that she would weave some blue and green fake hair through the plaits, but struggled to do this and so made a butterfly out of the fake hair which was placed onto the hair creation and can be seen on the top of the model's hair.

Amy's friend modelled for her and Amy practiced doing her hair, especially the plaits, lots of times so that on the photographic day she would be able to get the hairstyle as she envisaged it. Amy's model had brown hair and Amy achieved the colour effects that she was aiming for using spray on glitter in green, blue and silver. George, one of the salon hairstylists, did the photography and Josie, who is also a hairstylist at the salon, did the model's make-up.

Amy is now doing her Level 3 Apprenticeship and will be entering the 2017 Photographic Competition with the theme 'Best of British'.

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