The digital academy and the learning hub

The digital academy and the learning hub

With the coronavirus pandemic radically reshaping education, Toni&Guy found the transition to online teaching virtually a dream

The Toni&Guy Academy strives to help hairdressers reach their unlimited potential every day. The passion and commitment to that mission is part of the brand’s DNA. But when in-person teaching was suspended during lockdown, Sacha Mascolo- Tarbuck and the Academy team knew they had to implement a structure to continue providing their award-winning education programme to Toni&Guy apprentices worldwide.

“We use our social platforms every day as an effective communication tool for clients and students,” says Cos Sakkas, Head of Education. “We showcase hair tutorials on our @toniandguyworld Instagram handle, which has more than 200k followers, so it made sense to harness the power of social media to teach.”

Feeling a need to stay connected inspired ‘The breakfast club’. “Initially it started as an Instagram inspirational page designed to get everyone out of bed and motivated for the day ahead,” explains Sakkas. This simple concept soon blossomed into a global online community, with Instagram live events and a four day-a-week dynamic curriculum that easily filled the five-month gap before the Academies were allowed to re-open.

Monday’s focus was Toni&Guy’s impressive campaign heritage. The cuts and colour behind these legendary images were examined and recreated through online tutorials. “We used head blocks to show the process behind every look,” explains Bill Watson, Educational Director for Japan and the Southern Hemisphere. “Not only was this a practical teaching tool, it helped to convey the brand’s rich visual heritage.”

Tuesday’s lessons centred on inspiration; a comprehensive look at how Toni&Guy pursues creative concepts through hair. This involved showcasing work from London Fashion Week, editorial shoots and Avant Garde visions created by the leading International Artistic Team members. “Blocks were used again to create looks and opened our apprentices’ eyes to what is versatile and exciting,” says Sakkas. Thursday’s ‘Future Foundation’ lesson focused on the fundamentals of the brand, perfect for newer apprentices. The mainly theory-based tutorial examined the Toni&Guy terminology and essential practices such as ‘The Four Step Guide To Cutting Hair’. However, this also proved the perfect time for many global team members to increase their skill set, especially in the art of colour.

“Educators adapted to the online format by assessing individual budding colourists’ needs” explains International Technical Artistic Director, Siobhan Golden. “We created an immersive timetable of connection points to work to each of their learning capabilities.” International Technical Artistic Director, Francesco Fontana kept his audience enthralled with his wealth of product knowledge and colour theory, while International Technical Education Director, Jo O’Neill showcased practical demonstrations on the foundations of colouring hair. “It was an exciting, fast-moving learning experience, and not just for the students!” admits Golden.

The end of the week took a more fun-filled approach. “‘Meet The Team’ involved Cos interviewing me, Bill interviewing Cos and so on,” explains Sacha, “It was a fun way for us to impart our knowledge and connect with our wonderful students.” So how did the apprentices further develop their own practical skill set? “That was the really satisfying part of the programme,” explains Sakkas. “Students used their own blocks and wigs, then recreated what they’d learned.”Apprentices took pictures, then sent in the results to be reviewed by the tutors; the best ones were featured on the brand’s Instagram channel.

Inspired by their successes, Toni&Guy has now launched a dedicated digital centre for staff and students called The Learning Hub and The Digital Academy for label.m clients and the hairdressing community. The easily-accessible portal is the destination point for all areas of education and will reshape future learning. “It’s been exciting to see how we can continue to nurture the next generation of hairdressers, even during a global pandemic,” explains Sakkas, “I’m extremely proud of everything we have achieved.

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  • Words: Marie-Louise Von Haselberg