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Hair cut would be a big mistake

"Time to trim the hairdressers?" (FE Focus, October 24) says there is an oversupply of entrants to hairdressing. However, the 60,000 referred to are people registering for hairdressing qualifications, not entering the job market.

The figure includes working hairdressers upgrading their skills and learners progressing through levels 1, 2 and 3 (and so not immediately entering jobs). There are thousands of foreign learners who come to the UK each year to study due to our reputation for excellence in this dynamic and vibrant industry.

The actual number of people joining the industry each year is nearer 25,000. Unfortunately, the number leaving is approximately the same, mostly due to factors such as childbirth (the industry is 87 per cent female, most of them under 30). This means hairdressing must recruit and retain between 40,000 and 50,000 people. The industry has grown consistently since the early 1990s, has an annual turnover of pound;4.1 billion in the UK, and accounts for over 6 per cent of the European Union's service sector.

Hairdressing plays an important and undervalued part in regional economies, and it is time it was given the credit it deserves.

Andrew Darby

Deputy chief executive officer

Hairdressing and Beauty Industry Authority, Fraser House

Nether Hall Road

Doncaster

South Yorkshire

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