Saks Apprenticeships Get Outstanding by Ofsted

UK’s leading hair & beauty training provider, Saks Apprenticeships, is celebrating its second consecutive “Outstanding Provider” rating from inspection body Ofsted.

Saks Apprenticeships is a national education provider to independent hairdressers across the UK. The training is by an extensive network of educators; these provide in-salon apprentice training across the country and also in-house via its Saks academies located in Darlington and Maidstone.

Saks Academy Darlington: L to R: Sukye Bass – Academy Hairdressing Educator, Eve Lofthouse – Hairdressing at Number 4, Tina Ockerby – Managing Director Saks Apprenticeships, Conner Heaney – Saks Middlesbrough

Ofsted awarded the training provider a full suite of grade one ratings during its most recent inspection. This continues the theme from its last inspection 15 years ago. This is a very significant achievement for Saks Apprenticeships and its dedicated employees.

Saks Apprenticeships is now offering salons the chance to use its fantastic services to help attract more people. This comes with a salary for the students and an incentive payment to the salons; so creating a win-win situation for all parties.

Saks Academy Salon: Sukye Bass, Academy Hairdressing Educator, in action studied by (L) Tina Ockerby, Managing Director Saks Apprenticeships and (R) Rebecca Harle, Hair by Adell 

The company offers level 2 and level 3 apprenticeships in hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy and nail services. These take place at over 600 prestigious salons throughout the UK. More than 6,500 apprentices have qualified since its inauguration in 1999. They now find themselves in a multitude of senior roles including salon owners, senior managers – even joining the fashion industry. The Ofsted report noted that apprentices demonstrate highly professional behaviours and attitudes to their work. Additionally, a strong focus on professional behaviours embedded in the curriculum sets a clear standard for apprentices to follow.

Developing a Passion for Hairdressing

The report added that Saks Apprenticeships’ programmes enable learners to prepare well for working with clients. They also help them to develop a passion for hairdressing and beauty therapy through their work in prestigious salons. Apprentices also benefit from a range of professional training that is additional to the main programme. Therefore, they become highly valued employees and make very good progress in developing their knowledge and skills.

Managing Director Tina Ockerby explained: “When the company began over 20 years ago, I had high hopes it would transform the nature of training for hairdressing and barbering careers. Here we are with this double accolade from Ofsted. It’s a real credit to our apprentices, educators and the salons across the UK who support their learners so wholeheartedly.”

The Ofsted report also recognised how, during the pandemic, Saks Apprenticeships came into their own after the closure of salons during the initial lockdown, with the provider immediately sending hairdressing and beauty equipment to learners. A Facebook forum and Zoom sessions enabled us to schedule demonstrations and lessons, setting daily tasks for apprentices and encouraging them to post their work.

It was no surprise to the chair of the Saks Education governing body, Phil Hatton, that the Ofsted inspection team still considered Saks Education as an outstanding provider after 15 years. He concluded: “Managers have been involved in the steering groups for the development of standards-based apprenticeships in hair and beauty since day one. They are the best provider I have ever seen for self-assessment, quality improvement, professional development of staff, support for apprentices, safeguarding and the focus that all have on developing practical skills. I am proud to be associated with them and what they do so well.”  

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