A Cut Above

A Cut Above

Not all hairdressers were created equal. Toni&Guy’s award-winning education programme is dedicated to nurturing excellence and most of all, giving you great hair

There’s nothing worse than going for a hair appointment only to leave the salon feeling like you look worse than you did when you arrived. And if you’ve ever gone straight home and immediately washed away the blow-dry you just paid for, we can assure you that you’re not alone. But where does it go so wrong? “The ability to listen to your client, understand their lifestyle and create a look that works for them is key, but it’s just one of the elements needed to create a great hairdresser,” explains Cos Sakkas, Toni&Guy Head of Education. “The comprehensive framework of our programme exceeds the training you would receive elsewhere.”

Head of Education, Cos Sakkas

“‘Education, education, education,’ was my father’s mantra and played a decisive role in the creation of our Academies and teaching offering,” says Toni&Guy Global Creative Director, Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck. “We’ve adapted our methodology into the structure of the Level 2, City & Guilds Hairdressing and Barbering apprenticeship course and elevated the programme’s standard as well,” she explains. “In addition, an extra year with us [which surpasses City & Guilds Level 3] gives you the chance to further develop your Styling and Technical [colour] abilities. This dual-skilled approach is a key element of our education offering, then we teach Pre-Vardering – an introduction to the ethos behind our salons. All of our apprentices are expected to know our fundamental techniques – what we call ‘Future Foundation’ – but it’s just the start of our training philosophy.”

The Vardering course follows: an immersive self-paced, mentoring programme, equivalent to a Level 4 Diploma for hair professionals. It’s specifically structured to cater for varying capabilities and allows students to progress their skill set from wherever they may be on their education journey. The teaching is trend-led and fashion-focused, enabling the hairdresser to transfer their experience to the salon floor and evolve their clients’ hair journey season on season. “Only then are you qualified to work in our salons,” explains Sakkas.

Above from left: International Artistic Directors: Philipp Haug; Efi Davies; Daniele De Angelis; Indira Schauwecker;

Participation in brand partner and in-house competitions are actively encouraged. And six months after qualifying, you can attend the lively Creative Club meetings 2 0 held every other week at the London Toni&Guy Academy. These meetings are tailored to give recent graduates an introduction to the Art Team and form Stage One of a three-tiered approach designed to identify areas of excellence.

“Once you progress to Senior Stylist or Technician, Toni&Guy’s Centre of Excellence offers hairdressers the chance to upskill and refine their techniques with a programme of advanced courses, and utilise those to enter creative industry awards and competitions,” explains Bill Watson, Toni&Guy Educational Director for Japan and the Southern Hemisphere. And who better to teach you the art of editorial hair than the sponsors of London Fashion Week? “Our dedicated Session Team gives immeasurable teaching opportunities to hairdressers keen to develop their skills in this fast-paced arena,” says Sacha. In addition, seminars held by brand educators showcase nascent LFW trends, teach social media education, customer service and communication skills, in addition to label.m product training. At this stage you are qualified to run your own Toni&Guy salon.

Advancing to Style or Technical Director allows you to progress to Stage Two Art Team meetings: the focus here is Creative Education, where students develop their core-education delivery skills and knowledge: it’s the first step towards becoming a Toni&Guy educator.

Above from left:Bill Watson, International Technical Artistic Director Siobhan Golden; International Technical Education Director, Jo O’Neill and International Technical Artistic Director Francesco Fontana

Stage Three, Creative Direction, swiftly follows; after which plucky hairdressers can audition for a place on the Breakthrough Team. The year-long mentorship scheme provides invaluable training to 12 rising stars within the Toni&Guy network. Here students develop their cut and colour signatures, explore the world of show hair and polish their presentation skills.

The course culminates in a final showcase, which helps Sakkas and his team identify future partners, leaders, Art Team members and educators. “Our education programme is open to all. But it’s one that allows our next generation of hair ambassadors to excel themselves, whatever their career path in the brand may be,” says Sakkas. And it’s this approach that ensures that when you leave a Toni&Guy salon, you’re guaranteed to go home with hair that you love.

  • Words: Marie-Louise Von Haselberg

  • Photography: Amie Caswell