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Erica Howden, Ambition Tees

24 March 2023
Erica Howden

“I started my journey in hairdressing by volunteering in Savvy’s Health hair & beauty and found my love for hair & beauty while I was also working full time doing nights. I spent my nights working, then I would come home and go straight back out to volunteer as I loved it so much.

“I soon realised that I needed to stop my nightshift work to focus more on what I loved doing to better my skills for later in life. This is when I came across the apprenticeship route, a local salon was hiring for an apprentice where I could complete an NVQ alongside working which seemed perfect for what I was after. This meant I was going to start my apprenticeship at 24 years old, but it was my passion and I haven’t looked back since.

“Throughout my apprenticeship I gained some vital skills needed to work in the hair and beauty industry. These skills include washing hair, cutting hair using a range of techniques, styling and finishing hair to create variety of looks, and colouring hair for both ladies and men. I was able to practice on all hair types, which gave me brilliant experience working with straight hair, curly hair and wiry hair.

“As time progressed, I was able to carry out consultations with clients, to demonstrate the professionalism, values, behaviours, communication skills and safe working practices associated with my role within Chintz and be able to work without supervision to a high level of precision, with exceptional client care skills.

“I really enjoyed the apprenticeship as I got to spend most of my time in a practical setting in the salon, I feel it allowed me to be able to apply the knowledge I learnt whilst working into my studies which was beneficial for me as I learn better this way. I started my apprenticeship as a 25-year-old looking for a way to learn more into what I loved to make a career in hairdressing and this program has allowed me to expand my skillset and knowledge and become more confident in myself and my abilities.

“The overall outcome of my apprenticeship has meant I am able to pursue something I have a lot of interest in and have been given the opportunity to learn on the job, which is how I learn best, plus I am now qualified with a Level 3 in hairdressing.

“After completing my apprenticeship, I opened my own salon in Middlesbrough called EBC Hair and Beauty, which is just a dream. I am currently renting out chairs to other self-employed entrepreneurs in my shop, and in the future, I hope to take on an apprentice like my past self and give them the same opportunity I had through Northern Skills.”