On asking hairdressing apprentice, Katie Phillips what she finds to talk about when she is with clients at the salon where she works, her list includes conversations about what people have been doing that week, their children and their holiday plans.

“I’ve always been a people person, which is one of the reasons why I decided to follow a career in hairdressing,” she explained.

“After completing my Level 2 diploma in hairdressing, I decided I wanted to experience life as an apprentice and carry on my training in a professional salon environment.”

The 17-year-old works full-time at Syer Hair and Beauty salon based in Sutton Coldfield’s Gracechurch Shopping Centre while spending one day per week at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s James Watt Campus, Great Barr developing practical skills.

“It’s great to be able to practice my skills at both my workplace and at College,” Katie continued. “It gives me the chance to work with other apprentices who are progressing at the same time as me, and to also learn from other more experienced people at Syer.

“Working at the salon did take a bit of getting used to at first as the hours were a bit longer than a typical day at college, but the professional experience I’m gaining is perfect for my CV.”

“My days generally involve me shampooing and colouring the hair of clients and performing general duties like keeping the salon tidy, all of which I really enjoy doing.”

Katie is one of three apprentices from Syer Hair and Beauty completing a Level 2 NVQ in Hairdressing at the College.

Salon director, Kimberley Syer explained: “Apprenticeships are very much part of our ethos. 98 per cent of our styling team will have gone through them and we encourage our apprentices to continue their training after they have achieved their qualifications.”

“The plan is for me to go on to study the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, either at Syer if there is a position available, or at another salon,” Katie added.” “I then want to continue on to Level 4 as I’m hoping to own my own salon one day; ideally in London. Another ambition is to work on board a cruise ship so that I can travel and meet different people.

“With my qualifications and experience, I feel confident that I can achieve my goals.”

* For further information about Apprenticeships at Birmingham Metropolitan College visit www.bmetc.ac.uk, email training@bmetc.ac.uk or call 0121 362 1125