BEAUTY is big business with hairdressing and barbering becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors.

York College which offers extensive apprenticeship training has refurbished its salons to stay ahead of the game, with hairdressing and beauty therapy students now enjoying working in industry-standard facilities.

The newly-branded Inspired salons in the atrium now feature large spaces for hairdressing and beauty therapy as well as two new media make-up studios.

As well as the investment, the college in Sim Balk Lane is also continually looking to forge more links with regional employers, product manufacturers and external agencies to support students entering the thriving industry.

Karen Goodman, head of curriculum for hair, beauty and media make-up at the college, said: “We are delighted with our newly-branded and refurbished salons.

“York College is a leading training provider for hairdressing, beauty therapy and media make-up studies and our students are fortunate to have such an outstanding learning environment in which to work.

“Looking to the future, we are keen to extend working partnerships with local employers and salon owners, so they can get involved in our activities and influence/participate in our students’ education. Likewise, we are always looking for local employers who can offer apprenticeships in the sector.”

Since September, students have also been able to take on a new barbering course, learning skills such as cutting and styling men’s hair, colouring and conditioning as well as beard grooming.

The Level 2 Barbering course runs on Mondays, with training in the well-equipped salons, with students fully qualified within the year.

Barney Stonelake, aged 27, is among the first to take up the barbering course having decided to make a career change.

“I was studying product design at university and decided that I wanted to change track," he said.

“I have a lot of friends who are doing well in barbering and I like that kind of working environment. I am enjoying the course and have a part-time job, so far things are going great.”

The prosthetics industry is also growing, along with new and advanced techniques.

The new college facilities also include a prosthetics room which is designed as a functional work room with work benches, sculpting zones and a large area to apply the prosthetics make up. The room also caters for students working with foam latex and cold foams.

The new work spaces enable students to create industry-standard prosthetic and make-up designs to complete their Foundation Degree and BA (Hons), validated by York St. John University.

There is also a mixing room where students work with fibreglass, silicones and polyurethane resins.

Kieran Fitzgerald, aged 22, who is studying BA (Hons) Media Make-up, Special effects & Hair Design, said: “I actually moved from Wales to York to study here.

“I started on the foundation degree and have progressed to the BA course. The work is so broad; prosthetics, beauty make-up, hair design and theatre work.

“Originally I was most interested in prosthetics but now I have developed a passion for hair and wigs. I want to work in TV and film and I’m learning the skills I need to work in the industry.

“The college has first-class facilities and we work with industry-standard products and materials. It’s also great that our tutors work in the industry - they are such a useful resource.”

Former hair and beauty students are being urged to share their success stories. Get in touch at

Employers interested in offering apprenticeships should contact York College on 01904 770368.

During term-time, the Inspired salons are open to the public. All services and treatments are carried out, under the supervision of highly-qualified staff.