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Brand Educators – What Are The Expectations?

Brand Educators – What Are The Expectations?

Brand Educator: expectations on both sides?

Being an Educator or Teacher seems to be a bit of a ‘buzzword’ recently. Maybe it has been due to lockdowns and nail professionals thinking how they can develop their career or even pivot.

Donna Clayton has written a Blog for The FNP and also Scratch that gives LOTS of information on many different types of courses and also on qualifying as a teacher of adults.

As a quick recap:
– AET Award in Education and Training. This is the basic level and prepares the individual as it gives an insight into the roles and responsibilities along side the ability to assess and provide feedback. It is just the beginning at Level 3
– CET Certificate in Education and Training. This is a Level 4
– DET Diploma in Education and Training at Level 5

Teaching a professional skill such as Nail Services needs many different qualifications. Being a good nail professional doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good teacher and vice versa. You need to be good at everything!

What should a Brand expect of their Education Team Recruits?

– A minimum of 3 years (preferably 5 years+) working as a full time qualified nail professional
– Basic qualifications in manicure and pedicure with a very good knowledge of the theory of the subject and the health and safety and regulations of working with clients.
– A high level of skills and understanding of the system or systems you will be teaching.
– A good knowledge of the theory and chemistry of the systems (students ask the harder questions
– The ability to create lesson plans, learning plans, assessments and feedback as and when required.
– Be available for on-going student support.
– A classroom where students can be taught in a safe and appropriate environment
– Willingness to make available the minimum number of days per year as required
– Availability to attend teacher training on the Brand plus team meetings (travel and accommodation is rarely paid for when working as a self-employed educator)
– Complete required admin
– Promote their courses on their personal social media
– Be Brand loyal

What should an Educator expect from a Brand?

All Brands have their own specific arrangements but there are some basics that should be reasonable to expect.

– An exceptional Head of Education that the Team can rely on and have confidence in.
– Brand education! Every Brand should provide specific Brand characteristics, the science behind every product, USP’s (unique selling points), ‘manufacturers instructions’, troubleshooting help. This should be ‘in person’ and with documentary support
– A good support team in their head office with regards to booking, payments and supply of kits
– Provide ‘train the trainers’ classes in how the Brand wish to position their courses and how they expect delivery.
– Provide frequent team meetings to discuss new launches, new technology
– Provide personal feedback on Educator performance.
– A financial mechanism for purchasing kits for students or products for classroom or personal use
– The ability to create a Team atmosphere that means no one is working alone or without support
– Marketing material for promotion and a ‘branded’ classroom
For someone new to a career route of education, it is a very good way of starting the journey. A good Brand will provide students by way of their own promotions so a new Educator doesn’t have to start from scratch in finding students.

Accredited courses seem to be expected these days. But, good brand education provided by a reputable brand is sufficient for insurance purposes.

This blog isn’t a message to start with a brand and then leave them!!! A good brand will provide you with all you need for a long career in education. If it doesn’t then, at least, you will have a good start in understanding what is required and have completed the requirements for being a good teacher. Remember, they are two separate skill sets!

Evolution – Adapting Your Business For Success

Evolution – Adapting Your Business For Success

Evolution is probably the single most important factor for the continued success of your business. In this case I don’t mean Darwin’s theory, or finding the Missing Link (although anyone who has seen me before 6.30am and a strong coffee could probably make that claim!) I’m talking about how effectively adapting to wider circumstances can mean the difference between your business failing, surviving, or thriving.
As horrendous as the past year has been, it has taught us invaluable lessons if we chose to look at it as a learning curve. Many learned the value of the key word PIVOT, and adapted their businesses using their skills and knowledge to put in place alternative income streams and keep themselves afloat during the enforced closures. They can now continue these if they choose to, and have multiple sources of income, a key feature of improving your finances!
This is just one example, and the pandemic was a circumstance that hit us like a lightening bolt. But what about circumstances that are changing so subtly they are easy to miss? Humans have a natural urge to resist change. It is actually hardwired into our brains. Change makes people fearful, uncomfortable, and unsafe. But this is precisely what is holding many back, the known is safe, but it breeds complacency. Take for example the demise of many of the high street stalwarts like Top Shop and Debenhams. This could be blamed on the pandemic, but the truth is they were already in an irreversible decline long before it hit. And their issue?
They didn’t EVOLVE.
Instead, they relied on the safe, tried and tested methods of old, and failed to see how the shopping habits of their customers were changing. They didn’t do enough research into consumer’s priorities. Many nail businesses won’t make the connection between themselves and retail outlets. ‘We aren’t shops!’ they might shout. But what are we doing, if not retailing services, experiences, and products? Personal care services yes, but this is still an industry that relies on paying customers.
In a recent BBC interview, Mary Portas, maven of the High Street, explained how the expectations and priorities of customers and clients have altered over time. Many salons make the mistake of ignoring the changing needs and wants of a new generation of clients, as their diaries may be full of regulars they have had for years. These will eventually dwindle and in the meantime, the salon owner has lost precious time learning how to appeal to new clients. Simply relying on your existing client base, no matter how large, is not a good way to future proof your business. Attracting new clients in this dynamic and fluid world is about observing changing habits and proactively adapting to ensure you meet their needs. Otherwise, they will simply go elsewhere.
Social awareness has arguably never been higher, and clients are actively seeking out eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethnically diverse businesses. This kind of ethical approach should not just be viewed as a marketing strategy; to be effective, it should be every business’ aim, and embedded in their ethos.
Studies have shown that consumers also want an experience, rather than just a product or the usual treatment. Think of ways to introduce this to your services; a hand massage with their favourite lotion while toes are soaking, and a luxury hot chocolate in a beautiful cup during a pedicure are some of my clients’ favourites. Simple, low cost, but highly effective. It makes them feel special, valued, and removed from the usual chaos of modern life. Talk to your clients, learn what makes them tick and make notes on their record cards of the treats they enjoy. This kind of personalised service ensures they always be eager to come back to you.
And what about technology?
Now I was certainly no techno wizard – occasional Candy Crush does not count) But I have had to take the initiative to learn, and train my technophobic, 43-year-old brain to do what was required in order to adapt. Whether we like it or not, a digital presence is now vital. Social Media and a website are crucial in a world where technology is king and if businesses don’t embrace this, they will rapidly be overtaken by those who do. A good case in point is the new salon recently opened in London by tech giant Amazon. How many would have foreseen that they would expand their reach into Personal Services? They have the technology, and investment capability to launch a huge effort into seizing a chunk of the Personal Care market. In this highly competitive environment, we need to ensure we can bring our services in line with our clients changing priorities. They will continue to expect more from us and if we don’t heed the call to change, we will be left behind.
To thrive in a saturated market, you can’t just be on the ball, you need to be six feet in front of it and with this in mind, the FNP will be running a weekly feature for its members to take some of the stress out of trying to stay ahead of the game. We will be keeping you updated with all the latest industry developments, innovations, consumer trends and expectations, and discuss the possibilities of the future direction the industry will take. Outside, unpredictable influences such as the pandemic cannot be anticipated, but we can most definitely give you the tools and information you will need to weather any unexpected storms. Take the initiative, it’s in your hands!

Education Defined

Education Defined

Here is the thing, education has moved and morphed into something entirely different, and that has only accelerated over 2020 into 2021 through lockdowns. There are many mediums in which you can train in the modern world. The way in which we educate or receive education as we go forth into the future will be ever evolving, it should be embraced but structured, that is a conversation for another day.
One of the most important parts about education is knowing what type you are getting. There are many mediums in which to train, and they each have their differences; but it is not just that! You will want to know if your course has been accredited or is regulated by Ofqual before signing up.
But, and it is pretty big but, do you know the difference between an Ofqual regulated qualification, an Accredited qualification and a CPD course?? All three are quite different in approach and outcome, the outcome completely affects your insurance and more importantly your ability to make a successful claim should the worst occur.

When talking about education in the UK, you may have heard of OFQUAL and usually in the context of discussing, primary, secondary and college education. They are an independent government-approved auditing authority that ensures a balanced/ fair grading system, that standards are unilateral and adhered to amongst other duties.
At the top of our industry sector lies Habia.
Habia are our industry authority for the Hair and Beauty sectors and the only industry authority, so naturally sit at the top of our hierarchy of organisations within education. Habia is the standard setting authority for our sector, right now the industry standards are being released after being in draft form and undergoing consultation and feedback from industry during quarter one. You can find the current National Occupational Standards (NOS) on ukstandards.org.uk, with the new ones being added currently.

The NOS is a critical aspect of education, these standards are written by industry professionals (Salon owners, therapists, technicians, stylists) detailing what should be expected from competent employees in the field and practice in a real working environment. These public documents are available for anyone to view and download; solo therapists/technicians, salon owners, educators, and colleges. We will come back to this element in a moment.
Awarding Organisations (Bodies) are the next section in that hierarchy under Habia. Organisations such as VTCT, City & Guilds, ITEC, CIBTAC and CIDESCO, use the standardised course content of the NOS which is disseminated into their own unique structures and implementation strategies. What is important to remember is that whilst they are very individualistic in their approach, the course curriculum content (NOS) remains exactly same across all of them.
These qualifications are part of the framework under Ofqual and make up the formal qualifications you see in further education colleges and private centres. i.e., Level 2, Level 3 Nail services in the Award, Certificate and Diploma format.
Each body audits the centres who provide courses in their name, this is performed at least twice per academic year. The body has the right to prevent certification if the internal and external audit proves that the centre is not satisfactory and will strike off a centre if they fail to improve with an improvement plan and support.

CPD (Continued Professional Development) is a great way to expand knowledge and keep skills up to date. CPD helps you stay on top of the latest developments in your area or investigate new areas that may interest you. CPD can also help with career development.
For example, a Further Education Lecturer who assesses formal qualifications via an Awarding Organising (AO), must complete 30 hours of CPD pro rata per academic year to maintain their assessor’s status. Failing to do so could result in actions for the centre from the AO and invalid assessment judgements made.
The CPD can be in a variety of formats, such as practical skills – both short and long courses, whole qualifications, seminars, educational visits, the list goes on.
Equally industry associations may also require their members to maintain a level of CPD per year to retain the membership and comply with the code of ethics they agreed to upon sign up.
How much CPD is required for membership in industry associations? Associations may require their members to maintain a level of continuing professional development per year. They award points and often map out the hours that it takes each skill, such as 4 hours equals 4 points.

The one you have been waiting for.
Accreditation. This is where an insurance broker, supported by an underwriter, insures a course to run by the educator or training academy. Now, it is true that not that long ago we did not have this system, brand educational certificates were accepted by the insurance broker and we did not need accreditation, now you will struggle to get insured without it.
What the accreditation system has brought is a sense of validation and the ‘rubber stamp’ seal of approval to all courses advertised and approved as such. It started off incredibly well.
At the time of its inception, this accreditation system was a fantastic way to validate new course providers and legitimise their courses. This led to an incredibly successful boom in accredited courses with students from all over the country, sometimes the world signing up for these courses because they were seeing it as a valid alternative. As the system proved a profitable one and a source of validation, particularly for those who could not attend more formal qualifications or where the NOS does not yet exist for the skill, the sector boomed. Training and the opportunity to be an independent training academy was there and welcomed.
However, the unregulated part of the sector is an obstacle for professionals and newcomers alike. Each accreditation company hold their own unique criteria and standards, very few or neither directly correlates to the NOS. You will find a variation of courses available on the same subject, which differs from price-point, i.e., a basic manicure course that could be 2 hrs or 2 days in length.
Unfortunately, there are some amazing educators and academies who utilise the wonderful NOS resources that ensure their accredited courses match those criteria. Then there are others with identical credentials, but they do not use these same materials to educate students so it’s difficult to identify and compare. In the accreditation arena both sit as equal, one is not favoured over the other nor identified as such.

One of the major drawbacks to the current system is that each company sets their own standards, some higher than others. This means that insurance brokers often do not insure other accreditors qualifications and can leave learners with an uninsurable qualification and having to seek alternative insurance, bolt-on’s or retrain at sometimes great expense.

Other issues arise when a claim is made against the professional. Every insurance claim is scrutinised by the underwriters and loss adjuster, who must ensure that it was a professional’s original teaching or training of their skill which caused them to make an error. The only standards in which they can compare any incidents comes from NOS (National Occupational Standards). Therefore, if the course is not deemed fit for purpose, the claimant/professional may become personally liable, the insurance will not pay out and they may need to pay from their own personal assets.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder why we are in such disarray when it comes to training?

So what can you do?
When searching for courses, it really helps if you set yourself some criteria before starting so that you do not find any unhelpful courses alongside potential gold mines!
Ask questions of providers, check to make sure they are listed as current with the awarding organisation or accreditation company, ask if they are mapped out to the NOS if it is an existing skill. Any provider worth their time will answer your questions without any qualms or hesitations. Right now you must take it upon yourself to check this information to protect your business and your clients.

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