A course aimed at developing the region’s next generation of barbers and successful barber shop entrepreneurs is being rolled out to younger students due to significant demand from both learners and the industry.

As the resurgence of the barber and male grooming culture continues with more independent shops being opened and new jobs created, Northumberland College has seen a huge rise in the number of business owners seeking apprenticeship training as well as students looking to develop the skills and creative techniques used by top professional barbers.

In response, the college has now opened its level 2 and 3 barbering course, delivered at both Ashington and Berwick campuses, to younger students aged from 16 years.

Furthermore, it is also delivering an industry-driven barbering apprenticeship programme, giving business owners the opportunity to provide employees with the very latest training and a nationally recognised qualification as part of their job.

Sharon Malkin, Course Team Leader at Northumberland College, commented, “Barbering and male grooming services have seen a huge revival over recent years, with modern barber shops opening up on almost every high street and catering for a much younger audience. We are delivering the correct training that employers require as well as the skills which learners need for employment, and are anticipating a high level of creativity and commitment from those graduating this year.

“The course includes the latest techniques from cutting facial hair to colouring, with practical experience being provided at The Graduate, the College’s own barber and hairdressing salons in Ashington and Berwick. We are providing future professional barbers and entrepreneurs with the education and hands-on experience they require to stand out and be successful in what has become a very competitive industry.”

Local business owner and professional barber, Simon Cleverley, is one of many former Northumberland College students who since graduating, has gone on to establish highly successful barber shop companies. His businesses, CC Barbering Co in Ashington, opened three years ago and currently employs his son, Ryan Cleverley and apprentice, Reece Whitworth (both 20).

As part of their employment, Ryan has completed the level 2 and 3 course and achieved national success back in 2016, being placed 3rd in an industry competition. Reece is currently studying on the apprenticeship programme whilst working full-time.

Furthermore and maximising existing students’ training opportunities, Simon also provides barbering demonstrations at the College’s Ashington campus, as well as inviting learners to shadow staff and gain real commercial experience at his premises.

Simon said, “It’s a great foundation for both Ryan and Reece. We serve over 200 clients each week from the young trendy crowd to children and OAPs, each requiring different cuts and styling techniques, and they are both learning skills in barbering and commercial business to carve themselves great careers.

“From an employer’s perspective, the encouragement they receive from the tutor is fantastic. Being able to provide both Ryan and Reece with new learning opportunities whilst they gain industry-recognised qualifications as part of their job, is mutually beneficial, as the knowledge they gain studying the latest techniques allows us to offer customers, modern, on-trend cuts and best service. The College certainly set me on a path to success and to launch my own business, and I’ve no doubt Ryan and Reece will achieve great things too.”