Hair by me

Katie Leak

Katie’s advice to employers taking on apprentices is making sure that they have the time and commitment for them.
Katie Leak
Pictured above: Katie Leak
After studying Level 3 Hairdressing at Oldham College in 2011 and being self-employed for a while, Katie Leak set up her own salon last year and recruited apprentice Hannah Owen.

Katie has been Hannah’s hairdresser for several years so was delighted when she wanted to join her in the business. Katie was always impressed by Hannah’s passion and drive so as soon as she expressed an interest in becoming her apprentice she didn’t consider anyone else. Katie said: “Hannah is brilliant. She’s learnt so much and it’s great to help develop her skills and shape her as a hairdresser.”

Katie explains that she really enjoys the progression of an apprentice, seeing how they learn from others and then develop their own techniques. She said: “I’m passionate to pass on what I have learnt and Hannah is obviously benefiting from that. A full time course is completely different to working as an apprentice in a salon and there’s alot more to it than people think. Gaining salon experience is important as you need to develop excellent people skills for managing reception and dealing with difficult clients and pleasing people. As a hairdresser you’re a bit like a therapist and have to gain your clients’ trust and rapport. Apprentices becomes the backbone of the salon with the support they provide.”

Even when Hannah goes to university she will still work for Katie part time as junior stylist but definitely wants to recruit another apprentice from Oldham College. Katie’s advice to employers taking on apprentices is making sure that they have the time and commitment for them. She said: “You have to keep a track on your apprentices and make sure that they are progressing by always learning. It helps by setting them targets and ensuring you allocate enough time to provide them with training sessions.”

Katie herself has recently returned to the Higher Education arm of the Oldham College Family, UCO (University Campus Oldham) to study a Teacher Training (Lifelong Learning) CertEd in-service. Keen to progress, Katie aspires to set up her own training school for hairdressers. She said: “Lisa Wright, Oldham College’s Head of Work Based Learning has been so inspirational and supportive and really helped me to develop my teaching skills. She organised for me to teach hair students at the College one afternoon a week so that I gain voluntary teaching experience.”


  • Name: Katie Leak
  • Company: Hair by me

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