According to the Local Government Association, a new approach is needed to reduce youth unemployment. In 2012 94,000 people took hair and beauty training courses even though there were only 18,000 jobs available in the sector.
Whilst these figures make a good government-bashing headline, they do not tell the whole story. Unlike most other industries, the beauty sector is one which allows people to become self-employed as soon as they are qualified.
With just a basic manicure or spray tanning qualification a beauty therapist can set up a salon, home or mobile business. This makes the number of students versus the number of vacancies a somewhat skewed figure. Beauty courses are incredibly popular and give students a wide number of opportunities from further training to employment or setting up your own business.
Instead of focusing on the failings of these courses, maybe we should be looking at how to help these students make the most of their training. Grants to start up small business, training courses in business management and increasing their skill in the industry are all much more positive moves to reduce unemployment, not just in the young, but across the board.
It is not the beauty training courses that offer false hope, it is the headline writers and policy makers who look only at putting young people into employment, rather than helping them nurture any entrepreneurial spirit.