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Hairdressing apprentices chosen for pioneering German visit

Four hairdressing apprentices will be saying auf wiedersehen to their salons in South Wales for two weeks after being selected for a pioneering work experience visit to Germany later this month. 

The Welsh apprentices leave on May 27 for the Hamburg area where they will spend time at a college and 10 days working in salons to gain experience of the hair industry and culture in another European country. They return to Wales on June 12 to share what they have learnt.

Taking part in the all-expenses-paid visit are Natasha Springer from Taylor & Co Hair Studio, Lamphey, Pembrokeshire, Letitia Price from Vanity Hair Lounge, Gelli, Rhondda, Clara Leonard from iSalon, Killay, Swansea and Lowri Griffiths from Gwallt gan Sara, Tumble.

To prepare for the visit, the apprentices are taking a crash course in the German language and researching the country’s history, culture and food. They are also fundraising to cover the cost of uniforms and equipment.

Natasha, 21, who is working towards a hairdressing apprenticeship with HB Training, a sub-contractor to ISA Training, is looking forward to visiting North Germany for the first time, having previously been to the south of the country.

“My father is German, so it’s nice to visit the country he is from,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working in the salons and learning about the different products they use.”

Letitia, 19, who lives in Trealaw and is due to complete a hairdressing foundation apprenticeship this month, is keen to learn new techniques, see how German salons run and to overcome the language barrier.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “I’ve heard that the Germans are very strong on the fundamentals of hairdressing, doing everything by the book. The salon where I work is very supportive and they want me to share everything I learn with them.”

Clara, 18, who is working towards an apprenticeship, is the third generation of her family to choose hairdressing as a career. She began working in her mum’s salon at weekends and during school holidays when she was 13.

Looking forward to the visit to Germany, she said:

“It’s a really good opportunity to work abroad, to see how they cut and style hair and to learn new techniques.”

Lowri, 17, from Llandybie, who is working towards a foundation apprenticeship, is looking forward to experiencing life in another European country.

“It’s going to be an amazing experience,” she said. “I’m looking forward to learning about the German culture and seeing different kinds of hairstyles and how they work in the salons.”

The visit has been arranged by Bridgend-based ISA Training, the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales, with support from the Erasmus+ programme which offers exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.

It’s the company’s first venture to Germany, having previously organised work experience placements for hair and beauty apprentices in Spain, Poland, Cyprus, Turkey and New York.

The learners will attend an induction workshop in the college, rbz Steinburg, near Hamburg before being introduced to their host salons. Cultural visits to Hamburg and nearby towns are planned.

The apprentices will be accompanied by Cheryl Pearcey, ISA Training’s partnership manager and Lisa Lee, quality assurance practitioner. Three other staff members, Sam Grove, Terri Delap and Andrew Jones, will spend four days at the college investigating best practice and delivering a session on skin and scalp conditions.

The visit is 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.

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, Management and Team Leadership in Wales and England.