New Update on Hairdressing and Barbering T Level

New Update on Hairdressing and Barbering T Level

On Tuesday 30 January, 2024, Robert Halfon, the Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education announced that the Department for Education (DfE) has made the decision not to roll out the Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy (HBBT) T Level from September 2024 as originally intended.

How did the Decision Come About?

In beauty, the sector told the government that a good quality level 3 classroom-based progression route is desirable. Therefore, the government has announced it will explore introducing a T Level which focuses on the beauty sector, with an emphasis on science, and the expectation that this could be introduced after 2025.

Feedback from employers in hairdressing and barbering has been different. They have argued that the best route for learners into their industry is through completion of an existing apprenticeship, or through a Level 2 classroom-based provision that will get them into the salon faster than a 2-year Level 3 programme. As such, the government has announced that they will not be introducing the HBBT T Level to the hair sector and will not be pursuing hair or barbering specialisms in future T Levels.

The Government has said that it is confident that this is the right decision, which puts the career prospects of learners and the needs of industry first, though it was not taken lightly. The decision not to roll out the HBBT T Level will also mean that, from September 2024, there will also be no T Level Foundation Year for the hair and beauty route.

The Government acknowledged that this may be disappointing to some and will be disruptive for those providers who were planning to deliver the HBBT T Level.

What Does the Decision Mean?

Level 2 will continue as planned with the development of technical qualifications which are aligned to relevant standards in Hair and Beauty and will provide a classroom-based alternative to the apprenticeship. These technical qualifications would be available for teaching from September 2026 and the NHBF has been informed that whilst there will be a development in technical qualifications against relevant hairdressing standards at level 3 this area will not be reformed until at least 2027. In the meantime, the Department for Education will continue to fund existing qualifications which means that learners can continue to be enrolled on to existing provision.

Caroline Larissey, NHBF chief executive says, “We are pleased that the Minister has listened and taken on board our recommendations to support our sector, by focusing on a Beauty T level and no longer introducing a combined Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy (HBBT) T Level.

“Employers from hair salons and barbershops will always prefer that a prospective employee should enter the sector via a ‘job ready’ route or qualification, such as an apprenticeship or through an equivalent college-based Level 2 qualification.

“Emerging findings from our latest state of the industry survey in January show that finding experienced staff and apprentices is still a major barrier to growth for the sector.

“It is envisioned that the beauty T level will provide academic kudos with stakeholders for progression into advanced therapies and aesthetics, because of its greater technical and academic bias compared with the traditional vocational pathway’.

“The government says they are taking steps to raise standards and funding for apprenticeships in these industries to ensure high quality training provision. They say they are working with hair employers to potentially improve assessment for the Level 2 Hair Professional apprenticeship, which, together with the funding uplift, aims to increase quality and completion rates.”

The funding uplift:

57% funding uplift for the Level 2 Hairdressing Professional standard (from £7,000 to £11,000)

28% funding uplift for the Level 2 Barbering apprenticeship (from £7,000 to £9,000).