Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


NEW opportunities

If you’re thinking about taking on a beauty apprentice, but you’re unsure about what the current rules are, then we’ve got you covered.

The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) has shared with us an update on the latest apprenticeship changes, as well as the financial incentives available for salon owners and the changing pay rates to look out for.

“Growing your own in-house talent, offering someone a great opportunity, and bringing new energy, creativity and ideas to your beauty business are just some of the great reasons to take on an apprentice,” says NHBF chief executive Richard Lambert.

Here’s everything you need to know about offering apprenticeships…

What changes should I be aware of?

In England, employer-led beauty professional apprenticeship “Trailblazer” standards have been developed. The apprenticeship frameworks in beauty have been phased out. However, they are still available in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

These Trailblazer standards are broader and include making apprentices much more job-ready by the end of their programme.

There are five beauty professional apprenticeships to choose from – three at Level 2 and two at Level 3:

• Beauty Therapy (Level 2)

• Nail Technician (Level 2)

• Beauty & Make-up Consultancy (Level 2)

• Advanced Beauty Therapist (Level 3)

• Wellbeing & Holistic Therapist (Level 3).

They’ve been developed by the beauty apprenticeship steering group and beauty employers to ensure apprentices gain the level of knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need to work well in a beauty salon.

Apprentices must spend 20% of their time completing off-the-job training. This is one day per week for full-time apprentices. However, remember that English and maths cannot be included as part of the 20% off-the-job training.

Apprenticeship standards include a one-day end-point assessment, which is a bit like a driving or similar skills-based test. An external assessor carries this out from an end-point assessment organisation to ensure impartiality, quality, and consistency. The assessor cannot be the apprentice’s employer, or anyone involved in their training.

Qualifications from regulated awarding organisations are available to support on-programme learning within the apprenticeship. However, within the Level 3 standards, the qualifications are not mandatory. Merit and distinction grades are available for beauty apprentices who excel in their apprenticeship end-point assessment.

What financial incentives are available?

Incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice in England have been increased. Employers will now receive £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship (apprenticeship start dates from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022).

Applications close on May 15, 2022. The incentive payment is in addition to the £1,000 that employers already receive for hiring an apprentice aged 16–18, or an apprentice under 25 with an education, health, and care plan, or who has been in the care of their local authority.

To receive the payment, you must submit an application for each eligible apprentice using your apprenticeship service account. You can find out more about the apprenticeship funding at

What’s the latest with apprenticeship levy and pay?

Employers who have a pay bill of more than £3 million per year will have to pay the apprenticeship levy, amounting to 0.5% of the pay bill, into a pot which is ring-fenced for apprenticeship training.

Remember, apprenticeship pay goes up from £4.30 to £4.81 in April 2022, but don’t be caught out – any apprentice who is over the age of 19 and in the second year of their apprenticeship programme must be paid the age-appropriate National Minimum Wage (NMW)/National Living Wage (NLW).

Employers who underpay can be fined up to £20,000 and can be publicly “named and shamed” by the Government.


This article appears in the April 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the April 2022 Issue of Professional Beauty