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Scissor happy

The hair and beauty industry contributes £7.5 billion a year to the British economy and is expected to create 117,000 jobs a year by 2023. Yet this popular and diverse sector remains a much maligned area of vocational education. Jonathan Owen explores the state of what has long been a mainstay of FE provision

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Weeks after completing an app-renticeship in hair-dressing, Bridie Thorne found herself in the spotlight at an international competition in the Middle East, taking on the best young stylists from across the globe.

Thorne, a stylist at Pride salon in Gloucester, emerged from the 2017 WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi with a medallion of excellence, awarded only to those competitors who achieved the highest professional standards. “You’ve got to work hard to get somewhere in hairdressing, and it is hard work,” she says.

“With more competitions like WorldSkills showing that it’s not just ...

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