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Hairdressing trainees during Covid

Edward HemmingsI’m Nicky Pope, one of the editors here at and I also host the Respectfully podcast. I spent this morning chatting with a good friend to Respect for Hair – Mr Edward Hemmings. He and I recorded a podcast on a tricky subject: education and trainees in lockdown. Click HERE to listen. 

The trainee crisis

Edward is head of education and the creative director at Alan D Hair, and I asked him what it’s been like for students during the Covid Pandemic? We’ve heard much from the media about how things are for University students who can’t return to campus. And we mull over what we all do or don’t want to happen for kids at both primary and secondary schools. The question of exams and assessments preoccupies many of us, quite rightly. But there’s little I feel, about hairdressing trainees and apprentices. How are they doing without the opportunity for as much face-to-face learning time as they are due? And how do they cope with a reduction in time on the salon floor and with their own teams? It must be soul-destroying for many. And will this result in hairdressing struggle for newly qualified people coming onto the workforce?

Watch and learn success 

Running courses from his academies in central London and Ipswich, with students all over Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, Edward is reassuring. He tells me that the move to online learning has been largely successful. And he has some interesting things to say about the usefulness of watch-and-learn sessions for your hairdressing trainees. For so long we have assumed that there is no replacement for face-to-face learning, but this isn’t entirely the case. If you have a team including trainees or students, then do listen in to the podcast. You can find all our podcasts on Apple iTunes and Spotify – we have some epic chats there if I do say so myself! You can take a look HERE

Your choice

The value of following good education on Instagram Live or IGTV, and accessing seminars and training on other platforms including You Tube, is not to be underestimated. But be wise, and give your hairdressing trainees direction is my advice. There is so much eye-candy out there and it’s not all good nourishment! As a team leader, I’d suggest you have a look for yourself first, and put together a list of things that you consider good for your particular trainees given their age and stage and your salon clientele. You can start with Instagram – look up the academies, brands and educators you favour and you’ll find details in their blogs of education they are offering – much of it free and often accessed easily on their profile. 

The Common Room

Interestingly, Edward is also keen to remind us about mental wellbeing. There is a lot of chat in the media about self-care (I approve!) and again, as a team leader or salon owner, extend that to your employees especially the younger ones. They may seem resilient but this experience of a pandemic causing lockdowns is literally extraordinary and nobody knows what the future impact could be. Let’s help the teenagers and early 20-somethings to find support. Alan D is hosting a weekly student assembly – called the Common Room – for any hairdressing trainees anywhere (not just the trainees at Alan D). Edward will be there, along with his colleagues Kevin Day and Katie Clarke, who run the London and Ipswich academies for Alan D. It’s not just about hairdressing, this is a safe place for trainees to share their fears, hopes and ideas. Wednesdays at 11am is the time and you can find details on @alandhair 

It’s so important to keep focus on the wellbeing of the hairdressing trainees. If you have a comment to share, do contact us on and let’s share experience and ideas. Thanks!

Respect is a hub for UK hairdressers of all ages and stages to find out what We LoveWe Hear and We See as the best product launches, styling advice, hairtools, education training and seminars and hairshows! Sign up to our newsletter which is sent fortnightly direct to your email, so you stay up-to-date with salon styling information, trends in session work, advice on presenting on stage or progress in educating – whatever your interest, whether you’re a trainee or creative director, an educator or team leader, you’ll find all the opportunities and ideas on

We love hairdressing; we see and we hear how you can become the best hairdresser, colourist and salon owner possible. Contact us if you’d like to know more about us. If it’s worth talking about, you’ll read it here.


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