27 March 2014

The NHF is calling on hairdressing, barbering and beauty salons to come forward and tell the government what they think about plans to force employers to pay a compulsory cash contribution towards training apprentices.

The proposal is part of wider government plans to make apprenticeships more employer-led, a process in which hairdressing, barbering and beauty is playing a central role as an industry “trailblazer” mapping out new standards for training.

Earlier this year the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills decided employers, rather than training providers, should take direct control of apprenticeship funding once the new standards launch next year, and earlier this month it launched a consultation to gather views on how this might work.

The NHF is polling its members and will be feeding in a formal submission, but it is also urging salon owners across the industry to get involved and make their voice heard – so the NHF poll is open to non-members too.

Although the government has proposed there should be extra funding for 16- and 17-year-olds and for small businesses, it has also argued the new-look apprenticeships will need to include a “compulsory employer cash contribution for a significant proportion of the external training and assessment costs”. The exact level of this contribution has yet to be decided.

A second element of the consultation is examining the best methods for getting training money to employers, through existing PAYE processes or through the establishment of new online “Apprenticeship Credit” accounts.

NHF chief executive Hilary Hall said: “A lot of what the government is proposing around apprenticeships is hugely positive, and there are even elements within the funding proposals, such as extra money for younger trainees and for small businesses, that will be beneficial to the industry.

But our members are telling us that the additional cost of employing Apprentices, alongside the wages they already pay, is likely to put them off taking on apprentices. Many are deeply worried how much this extra financial burden might cost them.  There are too many unanswered questions, and dealing with funding is yet another burden on small businesses.  The last thing we want is for government funding reforms to undermine all the recent positive developments on Apprenticeship standards. 

 It is vital the industry’s voice is heard on this issue. We urge all salon owners to take part in the NHF poll https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3P9BVVS

 A free summary of the government consultation document is available from NHF by emailing enquiries@nhf.info or by calling us on 0845 345 6500.