When you’re studying to become a hairdressing stylist, it’s a good idea to
arrange a work experience placement in a professional salon. You’ll learn lots about the trade, make important contacts and if you prove yourself to be an invaluable member of the team, you may even be offered a job when you finish your college course.
Lee Gold, founder of PeeWees hair salons is well experienced in the industry. He has travelled around the world hosting hair shows and seminars and is now celebrating 27 years in business. He has shops in Brighton and Burgess Hill, Sussex.
We spoke to Lee about why he thinks work experience placements are so vital for students to do.
Why do you think work experience placements are so important?
Quite a lot of reasons really: from a young person’s point of view – I was young once! – I think how do you know what you want to do until you do it? I think getting out into the workplace actually experiencing it, to me is just common sense and a really good thing to do.
What kind of qualities or skills do you look for in someone when they come on a placement?
Passion. It’s more attitude isn’t it really? Skills you can teach, virtually to anyone, providing they have the passion to want to learn them. So I think passion and purpose. What is it that people want out of their life and what’s driving them?
Technically there is no qualification actually needed but 90-95% of our stylists are trained by us anyway so therefore they will have their NVQ levels because we are an NVQ training centre. But if I’m going to be really honest – I’m saying this on film! – if I’m going to be really, really honest with you, I could have someone come along with all the qualifications in the world, and I’ve personally taught hairdressing all over the world and represented lot of different companies and things, when it boils down to it bits of paper and certificates don’t really mean a lot. To join PeeWees you have to get passed me, do a practical test and get through an induction period so qualifications are just what you can do physically.
What I tend to look for is: it’s a bit like watching a musician. I’m looking for an artist in action. I play guitar and I used to play in bands – when you’re playing a musical instrument, you don’t worry what your audience thinks and you don’t think “I mustn’t pull a funny face”, you just do it! You’re at one with your instrument. So it’s the same with a good hair stylist.