Top Welsh Salon Owner Endorses International Work Placements for Apprentices

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The joint owner of one of Wales’ top hairdressing salons has spoken of the value to apprentices and businesses of international work placements.

Donna Friend, of Spirit Hair Team, says both the apprentices and their employers ultimately benefit from them working in a different country and learning new skills. She was speaking as one of her employees, Caitlin Wilson, 20, prepares to join five other hairdressing and beauty apprentices from across South Wales and Gloucestershire on a flight to Tarragona in Spain on August 30th for a two week work experience placement.

The placement has been arranged by Bridgend based ISA Training, the largest independent hairdressing and beauty training provider in Wales, with funding support from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme for education, training, youth and sport.

Caitlin is the third apprentice from Spirit Hair Team in just over a year to be selected by ISA Training for international placements. Lauren Rees went to Cyprus last year, and Kelly Bodenham travelled to New York in May. Donna is delighted about the exciting opportunities offered to the company’s apprentices. She said,

We encourage our apprentices to take these opportunities because they come back much more confident and share the new skills that they have learnt with the team here.

These placements broaden their horizons and give the other young apprentices in the salon something to aspire to. Last year, one of our apprentices went out to Cyprus where she learned new techniques which she shared with everybody here. The team now looks forward to seeing what the apprentices learn on their travels.

I think it’s brilliant for the apprentices and for the business.

Caitlin, who lives in Abercynon, is close to completing her Foundation Apprenticeship in Hairdressing with ISA Training and plans to progress to an Apprenticeship. Having taken a crash course in Spanish with the five other apprentices, she can’t wait to use her new language skills in Tarragona. Caitlin said,

It will be a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to working out there and exchanging skills and learning about the culture of Tarragona.

My ambition is to become a top quality hairdresser and travel the world using my skills.

The placement is the second organised to Tarragona by ISA Training, which has established links with host organisation, Institut Cal Lipolis, schools and participating salons. Berni Tyler, ISA Training’s managing director, said,

The work placement is designed to show the apprentices the exciting career opportunities that exist in Spain and introduce them to the country’s culture.

We want to enhance the learning experience and inspire our learners to realise that hairdressing and beauty therapy are professions that can grant them a passport to travel the world.

The work placement has been arranged as part of ISA Training’s Oyster Project, which is based on the saying ‘The world is your oyster’. The project aims to enhance the learning experience of apprentices, increase their confidence and broaden their career horizons.

The company has already arranged visits for learners to experience the hair industry in Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Turkey and New York. The Erasmus+ programme offers exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.

ISA Training, which has more than 700 learners and 550 employers on its books, specialises in workplace training, delivering government funded programmes in Hairdressing and Beauty, Customer Service and Team Leadership in Wales and England.

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