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Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver.
Vancouver Community College (VCC) is giving aspiring hairstylists the opportunity to enter a formal hairstyling apprenticeship through a compressed 10-week in-class structure.
“With the traditional apprenticeship route, you’d take a 10-month foundation program, find a salon in which you’d gain the required apprenticeship hours then come back to VCC and take Level 2 training, continue to get hours and take your Red Seal testing,” explains Lucy Griffith, VCC’s department leader of hair design and skin and body therapy programs. “With this new option, you find a salon sponsor first, complete 11 weeks in class, go back to the industry and continue working, and come back for Level 2.”
The option, says Griffith, will appeal to a wide range of learners, including those who wish to start earning money right away, those who have other commitments and will appreciate the streamlined 10-week format, and those who may not live in Metro Vancouver but wish to come to the area to complete their training before returning to their community to complete the 3,600 required on-the-job hours.
“It really makes education accessible to so many different kinds of learners,” she says. “Additionally, salons that sponsor apprentices receive grants from the government as an incentive to helping students enter the trades, and apprentices receive a $1,000 grant each time they complete an aspect of their apprenticeship training for a total of $4,000.”
With the route leading to a trade certification from B.C.’s Industry Training Authority and the Red Seal of endorsement, graduates, in addition to traditional roles in salons and barbershops, may work across Canada in roles within film, education or entrepreneurship. “As a Red Seal, you show that you have the highest amount of education a hairstylist can get,” says Griffith. “We have an 83 per cent employment rate upon graduation, so there is definitely a need for stylists.”