Teenage barber, Ellena Whiteley gave MP Julian Huppert a quick trim when he dropped into the salon to meet her and find out more about her apprenticeships.
Ellena, 18, demonstrated some of the skills she had learnt while completing her hairdressing and barbering apprenticeships through Cambridge Regional College.
She is following in the footsteps of boss, Dann, 23, who also trained through an apprenticeship at CRC and went on to buy the business – now Dann Richards Hair and Beauty – when he was just 22.
Julian caught up with both of them at the salon in Cambridge’s Hawthorne Way as part of his monthly initiative Celebrating Apprenticeships.
Ellena said: “I came here because I did work experience at the salon and loved it, and then had a Saturday job before getting the apprenticeship.
“Being an apprentice was good for me. I learn better from doing things, and I think you grow up a bit when you’re an apprentice because you are working rather than sitting in a classroom.
“It’s worked really well and Dann was an apprentice too which helps. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship. I like the experience of working in the salon and it is an advantage getting paid. I have always wanted to be independent.
“I love hairdressing. I want to be the best hairdresser I can be and have a good client base. If someone is really happy with their hair I feel happy about myself.”
Dann started his apprenticeship at 16 at the salon which was then called Wacky Hair. Eighteen months ago he bought the salon and renamed it.
“I love it and it is nice having a bit of responsibility,” he said. “I massively support apprenticeships. It is definitely the way forward, because you are industry-ready.”
“I am very proud of Ellena. She has done well in her apprenticeship and she wants to go on and do a level 3 qualification.”
Julian said: “It was great to meet two young people who have really made the most of the apprenticeship programme. They are an inspiration and it’s good to see that Dann is now in a position to offer other young people like Ellena opportunities through the programme. He seems to run the salon really well”
“I needed a haircut and Ellena did a great job. I wish them both every success for the future and I hope their stories will encourage other employers and young people to find out more about the apprenticeship programme – there are benefits for everyone.”