Apprentices are all the style at a hairdressing salon in Sutton Coldfield.
Virtually every stylist and beauty therapist employed at the Syer Hair and Beauty salon in the Gracechurch Shopping Centre began their career with the company as apprentices.
And that long-standing tradition is continuing today with hairdressing apprentice Jonathan Wheeler, who is currently cutting it as a student on an NVQ level 2 at Birmingham Metropolitan College.
Jonathan, aged 20, from Walmley, Sutton Coldfield is hoping to one day own his own salon after previously having completed a National Diploma in business studies at the same college, which followed on from a BTEC in business studies in his final year at the local John Willmott secondary school.
He said: “My mum Dawn is a hairdresser so I thought it would be a good idea to follow in her footsteps.
“After going to college in Sutton Coldfield for two years to complete my National Diploma in business studies, I was just looking for an apprenticeship somewhere and happily found this place.
“I didn’t want to go to university for another three years so thought I would come into this because I could be earning money.
“The apprenticeship is working really well for me. It’s better than university because I am not getting myself into debt, and I am going to come out with skills that I can use elsewhere.
“And, having done business studies, it means I might be able to own my own salon one day.”
The NVQ level 2 sees him spend one day a fortnight at the college’s James Watt Campus, Great Barr, together with on the job training by stylists at Syer’s one day a week.
He added: “Half the day at Great Barr is theory, but the other half is spent working in a commercial salon environment.
“It’s been really good and has gone really quick.
“Hairdressing is quite a social job. I love talking to people and it almost doesn’t feel as though you are working.”
The salon is run by director Kimberley Syer, the daughter of owner Kenneth Syer, who previously managed a number of salons in London before she made the move to Sutton Coldfield.
She said: “Apprenticeships are very much part of our ethos. ninty-eight per cent of our styling team will have gone through them.
“We have always operated an apprenticeships scheme even when they were previously out of favour. We have never gone away from them.”
She added: “We normally recruit our apprentices from our Saturday staff, but Jonathan came to us later, so is probably under more pressure because of his age.
“But he’s an individually strong character and he is doing well.
“We see NVQ level 2 as a minimum requirement and I think Jonathan will progress to do a level 3. That is what we encourage our apprentices to do, as well as providing our additional top-up training.”