I believe that hairdressing is a craft, and there are stages to a craft.
After getting basic licensing as required by the state, the journey begins. It starts with apprenticeship, this is a time when you are learning to work with your hands and learning to communicate with clients.
Apprenticeship only works if you have a mentor or a group of dedicated mentors with a clear path for you to follow. So the mentors need to have this all mapped out and present it objectively. If you skip this stage, I find that you will always be lacking some of your foundation. As an educator I encounter this nearly every week and can only say it is worth it to build that foundation at the beginning rather than, having to go back at a later date.
I agree with Gerard,as an educator and artist/stylist myself, I find that my internship days were indispensable to building a strong foundation for my career advancement.
There are four mental stages to learning any new skill ( the theory was developed at Gordon Training Institute by Noel Burch and also attributed to Abraham Maslow) the stages are mapped out below:
Stage One/ Unconscious Incompetence,this is the stage where individuals are unaware of how little they actually know when they are first learning a new skill. They are blissfully ignorant about the skill required on the subject in question.They don't know what they don't know.
Stage Two/ Consciously Incompetent ,this is the stage where the individual realizes how very little they know or they have a shallow understanding about the subject or skill they are interested in.This is also the stage where the individual begins to comprehend what new skills and knowledge they need to acquire to have mastery over the subject they are interested in advancing in.
Stage Three/ Conscious Competence, once the realization that learning certain skills will be required in order to achieve mastery over the subject of interest , the individual begins to concentrate on the performance of these new skills. This is where time and practice of the skill come into play.While concentrating on the performance of these new skills,activities or tools... The individual will find that skill or tools will eventually become automatic.
Stage Four/ Unconscious Competence, Eventually the skill will be utilized without the individual being consciously aware or having to think through the process beforehand.
This is the objective to reach this level of understanding or competence over a new skill.
In my opinion,this is where real innovation and creativity begin to emerge in the individual who is consciously seeking mastery or competence in their desired field.
I also agree with Gerard. In order to grow, you need to start with the right foundation, otherwise you will never be able to reach your true full potential. Interning is one of the most valuable experiences you will have in your career and one that should not be taken lightly. Observe closely and learn something new every single day! #JonReymanPro
I can't really see any con to apprenticeship. The feeling and ownership on the day that your mentor tells you you will be going on the floor is irreplaceable. You feel as if you earned something special and the craft means something to you. You have respect for what you are doing and means something deeper to you. I will never forget that day after 2 1/2 years of apprenticeship.
I love this subject! I am an AD of a large group of salons where we have a strong internship program in place. This can take 1- 2 years, depending on the individual. I often see the impatience in several interns as they feel they're ready get on the floor within the first 6 months - Stage 1, as referred to in M Long's reply. Some interns give up at this point and find a salon where they can go on the floor straight away with no further training. The downside of this is that years later, they are either at the same level in that salon or some were disillusioned and left the business. For others, it has worked out and they are busy stylists, but they will still have a ceiling of how far they can take their careers in a salon that does not offer on going training or continuing education.
I am a stylist in Chicago but completed my 4 year apprenticeship between Dublin, Ireland and London. The first year consisted of only shampooing, cleaning, general gofer, and holding the hair sections while the stylist cut - my hands were used instead of section clips! The great thing about such an intense training is that it is survival of the fittest. Within the first year, the hard work and long hours weed out the ones who are not passionate. It is preparation for what this business is all about and the hard work that goes into being successful. Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation. At the end of the 4 yrs, it is a great sense of achievement to earn your position as a stylist, and to be totally prepared to take on your own clients with confidence.
I continued to work as a stylist in London for another 7 years before moving to the US. Sadly, I could not find a salon that would hire me without a license, so I swallowed my pride and enrolled in Beauty School. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I still had some fundamentals to learn which were never covered in my apprenticeship. Here I learned the "why" behind "what" I was doing. Theory, degrees of elevation, body position awareness, and yes - sanitation - were all new to me. It also felt great to pass my written & practical test at the State Boards!
Having had the benefit of both apprenticeship & school, I think they really need to go hand in hand. School is great for the fundamentals and I'm all for hairdressers being licensed. However, the true learning and inspiration starts in a salon with a great training program, as Gerard mentioned. And most important, the salon must be invested in continuing education once your internship is complete.
So hang in there Tristen and best of luck!
The apprenticeship system is really effective if you are committed to education and hard work as long as its structured well.Go be a junior in London that'll sort you out.Work for an established company then come back here and clean up!Internships are jobs that don't pay by the way.There are no such positions in salons.You get a basic wage usually.