GCSE Results & What Skills You Need to Succeed in Barbering

Published 23rd Aug 2023 by Josie Jackson
With GCSE results day, we often see barbering and hairdressing bandied around as the career to turn to if you’ve not done well academically. Hair professionals are highly skilled, hard-working individuals who combine creativity with business skills; social and personal skills with a scientific understanding of colour formulations; biology, especially when it comes to the scalp and hair loss, with maths. So with the industry crying out for fantastic apprentices, what does it take to be a successful barber or hairdresser? Luke Benson, hairstylist to Billie Eilish, Roman Kemp, Tom Grennan and brands including Tom Ford, and owner of Luke Benson Hair (launching September 2023) shares his experience with education and the industry...

What did you enjoy at school?

“I actually enjoyed most subjects at school, but Languages came quite easily to me, and then probably biology and maths. I also of course loved my friends, the social side and sport. I hate the mindset that you’re
probably stupid or failed your exams and became a hairdresser. I got 2 A*, 5 As and 3 Bs at GCSE – and 4 AS Levels too. I went into an industry that excited me and I loved and never looked back. Do something for you and do something you enjoy. You work for a long time, make sure it keeps you smiling.”

What didn’t you enjoy?

“I wasn’t, which seems odd, very good at the creative things like Art, Music and Technology – even though they are now something I spend a lot of time looking into and admiring.”

What’s the best thing about moving from school to the workplace?

“I always wanted to work, and be in fashion, so, hair felt like a good path for me. The social side from school was still there in a way but it was with clients and staff instead. I also knew I was learning a skill.”

What skills do you need to be successful in the barbering?

“All I would say, like in anything, is be committed to learning and open to trying new things. I think having good people skills is also helpful. So, work on confidence because sometimes the best hairdressers aren’t the busiest, they're the ones with a great relationship with their clientele.”

Are there any skills you’ve learnt that you were surprised you enjoyed, for example, practical application of maths or science for colouring, or learning to run a business? Is it different when you’re learning in a practical setting?

“I’d say the business side always interested me, and my Dad always said to me to work for myself one day, so I always kept an ear and eye out to the business relationships bosses were building. I’d like to think this has helped me and I have a good relationship with industry figures that I can always turn to for advice if needed.”

If you're thinking about starting a Barbering Apprenticeship, these are the skills it will help you learn...
Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 23rd Aug 2023

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

Have all the latest news delivered to your inbox

You must be a member to save and like images from the gallery.