Industry placement models for Hair and Beauty

There are 3 typical models for placements: day release, block and mixed. As long as the total time for each placement adds up to a minimum of 315 hours (and on average we expect placements to be around 350 hours), you can adapt the models to suit your business needs, and to align with the student’s course.

Which model is best for you in Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy?

Questions you may want to ask yourself when determining which model best suits your organisation:

  • how does the timing of the placement fit with what the student has learned on their course so far?
  • would students learn best if they were coming in continuously for a block or regularly one or two days a week?
  • are there times of year when a placement would work best – perhaps quiet periods when you have time to demonstrate your business’s ways of working or busy times when you need extra support?
  • are there tasks or treatments which are suitable and safe for students to work on, that happen at specific times in your business?

Placement models

(using c.350 average hours as examples)


Day release

Year 1: 1 day a week, for 10 weeks using 80 of the 350 hours

Year 2: 1 day a week, for 34 weeks using the remaining 270 hours

When this model might work:

  • On a particularly busy day (or days) of the week when support is needed and could be incorporated into your services
  • Where you want to build up a young person’s knowledge, skills and behaviours over a long period of time


Barber shop looking for new barbers

Attending 1 day a week, the student supported the barbers over an 18-month period, getting to know customers, the culture of the business and the styles requested, with the opportunity to rent a chair at the barber shop at the end of the student’s course.

In the first part of the placement the student worked alongside an experienced member of the team, kept the salon clean and tidy, took bookings and prepared clients for barbering.

In Year 2 the student worked gradually more independently, whilst still under supervision, shampooing, shaving, cutting and colouring hair.

Nail bar

A nail bar offered an industry placement to a student for one day a week across 2 years of their course to support the student to build their nail treatment skills and experience, so that they could consider pursuing a career in nail services at the end of their studies.

The student assisted by greeting clients on arrival, providing refreshments, replenishing stock and taking payment for treatments. Over time they provided bespoke nail services, advice and treatments under supervision.

By the end of the placement the student had gained a great deal more experience and knowledge and had confirmed their career plans as a nail services technician.


Year 1: A single block using 150 of the 350 hours

Year 2: A single block using the remaining 200 hours

When this model might work:

  • For organisations that experience seasonal variations of business
  • To give a student an intensive experience to support their learning
  • To allow a shared placement between two employers to offer a broader experience of the hair and beauty industry


Holiday spa support in high season

A holiday company that provides accommodation, a swimming pool, family entertainment, spa and hairdressing facilities offered industry placements to a small group of hair and beauty students at the start of their high season.

In their first block of learning, the students had a thorough induction to spa facilities, before accompanying and supporting staff and reception for 10 days. They then completed a practical project, demonstrating what they had learned during their experience.

In the second year, the students came back to the organisation for 4 weeks to gain more specialist experience, including preparing oils and waxes and carrying out pedicures, manicures, face and eyebrow express services under supervision.

Wedding hair

An industry placement student worked with an award-winning freelance hair and make-up artist during 2 busy summer wedding and events seasons.

They received special dispensation to support the hair and makeup artist outside of the academic year during their busiest times.

During the placement, the student answered customer queries via phone and emails and tended a stand at wedding fayres to market the company.

The student also supported the hair and make-up artist on location, assisting where necessary, making clients feel comfortable and participating in hair styling for bridesmaids and flower girls.


Year 1: 1 day a week for 10 weeks, using 80 hours of the 350 hours

Year 2: A block using the remaining 270 hours

When this model might work:

  • When it helps a student to understand your organisation in a phased way, building involvement as the student develops
  • To provide experience of your industry at different times, perhaps during busy and quieter periods, or at different times of year


Exclusive beauty salon looking to recruit

A nationally recognised beauty salon wanted to grow its own talent, because they insist that understanding their unique approach and culture, and the specialist techniques used for private treatments to exclusive standards, is paramount to their success.

They offered an industry placement to a student 1 day a week for 10 weeks. This involved meeting, greeting and attending to clients, taking information for private treatments, stock checking and supporting beauty therapists as needed.

In the second year, the student came back for an extended block to prepare them for a junior role in the business on completion of their course.

The student also worked with the manager for 2 weeks before the end of their course, delivering private treatments under supervision and in partnership with one of the beauty therapists.


A town centre hair salon offered a mixed placement model to a student.

The student came in for a 2-week block at the start of their placement, to understand the business, get up to speed with health and safety and understand how the hairdressers cut and shampoo hair.

The student then came in one day a week as standard, to support the salon as needed, and attended for block release sessions during busy periods such as the start of the summer holiday season and the build up to Christmas.

The student was involved in increasingly complex work, eventually using and adapting their creative and precisions techniques to enhance hairstyles to client satisfaction.

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