S&S Hair.Beauty partners with the AITC to provide a pathway into a stylish industry

Carolyn Lee, Human Resources Manager at S&S Hair.Beauty


Being a hairdresser offers the chance to make a difference to how people feel about themselves, excellent job security and career opportunities as well as learning to work successfully as part of a team in a customer-focused industry.

S&S Hair.Beauty has 22 salons across Brisbane and one at the Gold Coast. Carolyn Lee, Human Resources Manager at S&S has an increasingly busy job which includes sourcing appropriate candidates, recruitment, onboarding, induction, performance management and continuous education and training, covering all aspects of the employee lifecycle.

S&S and the Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) have recently embarked on a partnership “but we are looking forward to an ongoing successful and rewarding  relationship,” says Carolyn. “We recently signed up a great AITC apprentice. We were so impressed, after only three days of work experience, we offered our now employee an apprenticeship.”

Carolyn says she looks for an apprentice with a “passion for hairdressing” and someone reliable “because you’re working very closely as part of a team, you need to be able to support that team, and the team needs to be able to rely on you.” Another important aspect of being a hairdresser is the ability to provide excellent customer service.

“We find the AITC young people are more mature in their outlook in terms of work. They come into our salons with a passion for hairdressing. They know: ‘This is what I want to be. This is what I want to do.’ They already have that direction. They’re unlike some candidates who are unsure.”

Abbey, from (Year 10 2021), began her school-based apprenticeship with S&S and believes the AITC was a great start to finding her career path. “I love being creative and finding out how to do different techniques and try new things.” She says the S&S team are “a great team” to work with, “we help each other out a lot.”

Bringing her AITC values of honesty and mateship into the role, Abbey is looking forward to developing into a successful hairdresser and progressing into a management position in the future.

Carolyn says apprentices feel very supported in their learning at S&S. “A lot of effort, skill and time goes into training apprentices to a very high level.” TAFE trainers provide training in our salons rather than at TAFE itself. This makes it easier for everyone and maximises the amount of training completed. Matrix is “our main product supplier and provides further ongoing education and training.” S&S have over 5,000 clients a week, “that’s why apprentices really enjoy being with us, they get a lot of hands-on experience throughout the day.”

The arrangement with the AITC is apprentices come in every week on the busiest days, Thursday to Saturday. Young people then spend Monday to Wednesday at the College completing their formal education through to Year 12.

Finishing the Queensland Certificate in Education (QCE) in Year 12 is important. “By the time they get to the end of Year 12 they have a solid academic background and a continued passion for hairdressing as well,” says Carolyn.

Work experience is an extremely important step before being offered an apprenticeship. “We want to get them involved so they can see and experience what the job of a hairdresser actually is.”

Laura, (Year 10 2021), tried work experience at S&S during her Industry Block. “I came to the AITC wanting to be a hairdresser.” She tried a TAFE Trade Taster and from there tried a few different industries but came back to hairdressing. “It’s a good way to express your creativity and you can have lots of fun with experimenting with different looks.”

Work experience is teaching Laura a lot about herself including building her confidence, helping with time management and communication skills.

During work experience Laura says communication is important, “never be too scared to ask for help.” She also advises other young people to “give everything a go. If you have an interest — at least try it out so you will know what your career path is and you won’t be left wondering — ‘What if?’.”


Discover more about enrolling at the AITC