I’ve been doing the barbering course for a couple of months now and so decided it was about time I started ticking off some assessments. The theory part is taught as a group, so we all take our assessments together, but for the practical we have to bring in our own clients for assessment. There are several different practical modules, facial hair, shampooing, haircutting, styling etc and, as there’s no way we can all be assessed on the same thing at the same time, it is up to us individually to ensure the assessments get ticked off.
I’ve decided that, realistically I’m probably not ready to get assessed on any elaborate haircuts yet, and definitely not ready to start shaving designs in the back of anyone’s head. (I did have one go, a poor ESOL student asked me to shave a pattern he’d designed into his hair. Thankfully there’s no photographic evidence of the result so it can never be pinned on me guv!) However, health and safety I can get ticked off, just as long as I don’t have an accident with the razor blades. Consultation is straight forward enough, just ensure that I listen to what the client wants and check for any skin infections etc. Job’s a good’un…tick that one off.
The problem is finding clients who are willing to let a trainee cut their hair. I’ve been practising on a head block, trimming his moustache, trimming his hair etc, but when a real client comes in I get a bit nervous in case I mess it up. Make up is ok, if you mess up you can wipe it off and start again, but a bad haircut can’t be covered up so easily. For this reason, willing clients/victims have been pretty thin on the ground. We’ve started sharing clients who come in. Some people on the course are more confident in haircutting, having previously training as hairdressers – they have been doing the cuts. I’ve greeted the clients as they’ve arrived and persuaded them to let me wash their hair before they begin. After the haircut somebody else has then taken over to blow dry and style the hair. In this way we’ve all been getting at least some assessments ticked off.
My haircutting is definitely improving though, as is my confidence. I managed a facial hair trim the other day, and have mostly mastered the techniques required for scissor work. Clippers are not today’s concern. The problems will come later in the year, when I start needing men with moustaches to work on. How does one go about advertising for ‘willing men with moustaches’ without making it sound like an request scrawled in marker pen on the wall of a urinal? Hmmm, six months left to get my thinking cap on.