Training days are an essential part of pushing your business forward. Not only do they develop the personal skill sets of your salon staff, but they also open up the lines of communication for feedback between the team.

We understand that it can be difficult to make time for for training days when your books are filled with client appointments, but it is hugely important that you make time for training days and dedicate the hours to planning  a successful session or sourcing the right kind of course.

So what makes a salon training session successful?

In today’s article we speak to salon professionals Ken Picton, Jack Howard and Cos Sakkas to discover their top tips and advice when it comes to executing the perfect training day to make it both engaging and fun for your staff.

Cos Sakkas – Toni & Guy Artistic Director and Head of Education


What methods have you found to engage your staff most during training?

Whether it is apprentices or qualified stylists, it’s important they all have a structure, timelines and goals. They need to understand where they are in their training and their career so they can hit their targets and move on.

For our apprentices, they need a structured schedule of training. It’s important they start on the practical side as soon as possible – they pick up a brush within three weeks and they are using a pair of scissors on a mannequin head within six weeks. Doing hair is the reason they want to be a hairdresser and if we are teaching them these basic skills they are happy to do the regular salon chores as there is a balance. We need to look after them as individuals.

For qualified stylists, we have Art Team Training they can take part in as well as art team evenings every fortnight. Our Creative Club is for everyone to cherry pick from the timetable that they are interested in, whether it’s LFW trends, collection launches or men’s hairdressing. This takes about 12 months and then they can progress onto our Creative Education, which ensures they are 100% solid on their Future Foundations techniques. From this they can progress on to Creative Direction, where we teach them more creative hairdressing, hone their presentation skills and they start to teach and assist.

What methods do you recommend to make sure training sessions are fun?

Introduce an element of competition. All our trainees and stylists have their own individual timelines, which everyone can see. This creates a healthy competition between their colleagues as they can see which elements they have completed or what they need to improve on. In all our training we include demonstration, practical and theory. It’s also important to have consistency in their training programmes and set goals and motivate them. This helps create loyalty and shows them you are serious about their careers.

Training sessions should be social as well as educational. It’s the perfect opportunity to go for a drink afterwards where everyone can ask each other questions and talk about what they are doing and what’s working for them.

How often do you recommend undertaking training sessions?

Ideally hairdressers should attend an educational event at least twice a year. This could be attending a course at an academy, and going to watch a show or seminar. If you do something at least twice a year this helps keep you up to date on what is going on in hairdressing and in the world of fashion.

Discover: When is the right time to promote your salon staff?

Ken Picton – Salon Owner 


How often do your salon staff undertake training?

We undertake training for all our trainees on a weekly basis and this is part of their weekly employment hours. We find that giving the trainees this targeted day of specific training is a really great way to engage them into getting the most out of their education.

One of the things that we do is try and theme the days a little more specifically so they can really focus on trends, techniques, and perfecting them. For example, we separate cutting and colouring days, so it gives the staff more opportunity to work on specific techniques. We also try and replicate the salon environment as much as possible and this educates them in the way we need them to be to then be successful on the shop floor. Although they’re lucky to get lots of clients wanting to come to training we get them to work on their own social media channels and friends and relatives to create their own model bank of clients that they pass around each other.

We also look at getting specific styling days (hair up, education with brands) and all those type of things which makes Monday their most enjoyable day of the week!”

How to manage salon staff and their goals

 Jack Howard – Balayage Expert at Paul Edwards salon

What ways have you found your staff to engage your staff most during training?

Staff need to be reached on a few different levels:

1) Technical information needs to be imparted in small repetitive bites so as not to overwhelm the team

2) Hands on practical that is repetitive but in steps so that there is always a sense of achievement. So for example if they are learning balayage we only focus on a few pieces to begin with rather than a full head which would take too long and become a chore.

3) Stories and mantras are a great way of relating and reinforcing what to do each session. The mantras can become second nature and easily remembered.

What methods do you recommend to make sure training sessions are fun?

Making it fun at times so laughter is brilliant and sharing trials or disasters that happened to me during my training makes it more relatable and humanises the experience. Hands on practical will always be the best but then video has become a great tool as well as social networks which offer advice and live seminars. Young people learn differently and engage differently to my generation and we need to be able to reach them. I also think if you can take people to events to broaden horizons it’s especially helpful. For young trainees I’ve always thought that 5 star hotels are a great way to show how service should be done, so an afternoon tea can be a treat and a learning curve.

How often do you recommend undertaking trainers?

This all depends on the level of the team member. Assistants should have time to showcase and learn away from the stress of the salon day in evenings dedicated to them. For more senior staff ongoing training is a must to make sure they don’t get complacent or left behind. The world of professional colour has rapidly changed thank goodness and we now have so many ways to learn, that’s why I added video on demand to my education offering so if you purchase it you have a lifetime access to the looks. This is a great way for people to keep referring back and learn at their own pace.

We hope you found the tips useful!

When will your next training event be?

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