Earlier in 2021 it was announced that the National Occupational Standards (NOS) had been updated to reflect the rapidly-changing, diverse hairdressing sector. Written by professional employer experts, the new government-approved NOS was compiled following a public consultation in December 2020, which harnessed the opinions of a broad range of industry voices.
The timing couldn’t have been more apt. Following the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, which rippled across the globe in response to the killing of George Floyd, there was a call to review the hair standards. "There were many petitions to make hair training more inclusive," explains Joan Scott, Chair of Habia (The Hair and Beauty Industry Authority), who ensured the NOS changes reflected the needs of the industry. “Habia review the National Occupational Standards (NOS) every 3- 4 years and it was very important to Habia, and all the experts, that the NOS should be inclusive of all hair types, including wavy, curly and coily. Now, the hair standards have been updated to ensure that they reflect technical developments and meet the needs of the UK’s diverse community.” We caught up with industry professionals to hear their views on the new NOS guidelines.
Jacqui McIntosh, director of education for Avlon Europe“Although Afro hairdressing has always been included within qualification structures, it was usually via optional units regarding technical applications. Knowledge and techniques regarding black haircare were not embedded within the core curriculum assessment strategy, leaving learners lacking skills. Now, in terms of funded education, it is every learner’s right to be educated on all hair types.”
Anne Veck, owner Anne Veck Salon“If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that hair salons must be willing to adapt while responding to the needs of society. We’ve seen first-hand the value of community support and how knowledge and skill sharing can keep the industry moving forward. I will continue to bang my drum on the necessity of textured hair services in salons because it’s just not an option to think otherwise.”
Dionne Smith, natural hair education expert for Cantu Beauty“It’s great that we are now in the position to offer Afro textured hair training as a mandatory unit. This year I’ve been working with Cantu to provide free training opportunities to stylists via our Textured Hair Pro-Training Initiative – also endorsed by Habia –a series of virtual masterclasses.”
Sharon Thompson, international marketing manager, Mcbride Research Labs“Mcbride Research Labs., Inc., has become Brand Partners with Habia to support their efforts long-term as this aligns with our core training programmes. Through the brand Design Essentials, we are now able to deliver training to support colleges, salons and stylists. At McBride Research Labs we look forward to rolling out our courses in ‘Texture Management’.”
Charlotte Mensah, L’Oréal Professionnel Paris instructor for Total Texture“Understanding the fundamentals of what, why and how texture influences hairdressing techniques is essential. L’Oréal Professionnel Paris has launched Total Texture, a new and free L’Oréal Access Online Training Course that aims to arm professionals with foundation knowledge to welcome clients of all hair textures.”
Talisha Cox, hairdresser and proprietor of Elite Lounge“Hair is hair, no matter the type. It all starts with education, as this builds confidence in working with Afro hair. The update will reassure hairdressers that Afro hair is not as daunting as it may seem. We’ve got the momentum to make big, positive steps forward – it's short-sighted to resist change.”