When Education Isn’t What It Should Be

We know that there are holes in the fabric of our industry with many salon owners struggling to locate quality staff who are industry ready.  We are currently living through a crisis in competency.  Amongst some truly great educators, we know that there are also training providers only too willing to make a fast buck and leave behind poorly educated and unprofessional trainees who wrongly believe they can work on the public legally and safely.


Following the starts of legislation and regulation for our higher-level industry qualifications, there is likely to follow a cascade effect through the other levels of competency within the personal care sector.  Our awarding bodies will need to change their criteria as there are new NOS to apply and this will in turn sharpen up the new entrants to our working world that have chosen a formal educational route.  Quality accredited providers will also take note of the new NOS and this will again promote a better output into industry through education as the new commercially current standards begin to push through courses and qualifications.

Accrediting organisations, more generally, are being asked by the wider industry to look at how they work and formulate their approval systems.  There is a current trend that has led to more and more accreditation companies being set up and these are unregulated and do not always provide quality assurance.  We have issues with allergies caused in the main by non-professional practices affecting the public and our workforce.  We have therapists and nail techs demanding regulation and legislation to protect their livelihoods and increase standards.  Fundamentally the whole sector is at a precipice of integrity and it’s time to start looking inwards for the answers instead of waiting for someone else to take responsibility.

Searching for education in the fields of nails, beauty, holistics, aesthetics, hair and more can seem very easy as you’ll find courses on Google, Facebook, Groupon and more.  Are these all valid courses?  No, they aren’t!

You will find many will be with fantastic and experienced educators that are accredited through legitimate bodies, however, in today’s world of get rich quick schemes, there are many that are offering 1-day courses to be “qualified” in the chosen skill and the only person getting rich quick will be the person behind the course.

All this can lead to students being at the mercy of poor education providers as they realise that this style of training has been ineffective, and they didn’t learn anything and just lost their hard-earned cash.

5 Things to Look for to Avoid Poor Quality Education

  • Cost – The age-old adage “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is” rings loudly in education within the hair, beauty and wellness (personal care) sector. Quality courses come at a cost as a good provider will be well qualified, well experienced, insured and be able to provide full after course support.


  • Pre-requisites – Does the course have pre-requisites? This could be GCSE’s, foundation qualifications, Level 2 or Level 3 NVQs in the subject and more.


  • Course Content – What’s involved? How is the theory taught?  Is there an assessment before you qualify?  If not, you may not be getting the best education and won’t know if you’re safe to practice.


  • Who is the Accrediting or Awarding Body? There are many national qualification bodies and recognised accrediting companies. Without the right stamp on your certificate, you may not be able to get insured to practice.  Many insurers will seek an Ofqual regulated qualification as the base level of education so look out for this as going forward it is likely this is where industry regulation will head for its minimum requirement.


  • Insurance – Check this on two levels. Firstly, is the Education Provider insured to teach and provide education services?  Secondly, once you’ve completed any course will you be able to work on the public and get insured with every insurance provider, not just the one the educator is accredited by.  This is becoming a common issue and it is a buyer beware situation.

Good education costs for a reason, save for a bit longer or ask for payment plan options with the provider.  Make sure you give yourself the best chance to improve your future and when looking for a good quality Education provider, consider the following points to help you make the right decision:


  • If you are taking courses to gain more skills a good Education Provider will want to know that you have a core understanding of what you are about to take on as a new skill. For some vocational qualifications you may need GCSE or Literacy/Numeracy Skills certification to be able to begin this type of study.  This will be evident in any information that the Education Provider has. Don’t expect quality Education Providers to be cheap as chips.  They have a world of information and experience to impart and this does come at a cost.


  • All Education Providers worth their salts are accredited by a nationally or internationally recognised body. This may be an industry accreditation scheme such as BABTAC, ABT or a national Ofqual regulated qualification such as NVQ or VRQ through awarding bodies such as Qualifi, City & Guilds or VTCT.  Whichever style of education you wish to learn by, make sure your Education Provider is able to provide you with a recognisable and insurable certificate. A good Education Provider will have great reviews and will have testimonials from their Learners.  If you can’t find good reviews available freely online then consider why that may be.  Like any business training academies and colleges only progress and grow with happy customers.


There is unending choice within Education and selecting the right course for you and your career can seem daunting.  If in doubt, approach an educator that has a great industry reputation, experience and a solid history to ask what they offer.  All educators are there because they want to help and share their knowledge and are rarely offended by questions that help someone else grow.  So just ask – they won’t bite.

About Sue Davies

Sue Davies, salon owner and CEO of nabuno has been an active member of the nail and beauty industry for over 2 decades and worked widely in the industry in the fields of salon management and ownership, international nail competitions, as an education provider (both independently and for industry brands) and managed nail industry trade bodies. Sue has received recognition and awards and contributes regularly to trade press and publications and shares her experiences on her Inspiring Salon Professionals podcast.

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