The Department for Education (DfE) has cancelled the Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy (HBBT) T Level.

The announcement follows feedback given to the DfE from industry trade bodies. Postponed from September 2023 to September 2024 in March last year, the combined T Level has now been disbanded in favour of a beauty-focused T Level and existing level 2 or 3 apprenticeships.

According to GOV.UK, T Levels are two-year courses which are carried out after GCSEs and offer students practical and knowledge-based learning at a school or college, as well as on-the-job experience through an industry placement of at least 315 hours.

Robert Halfon, the Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, said in a written statement: “After discussions with representatives of the hair and beauty sector, we have decided to separate our plans for a combined T Level in hair and beauty. The beauty sector has fed back that a good quality level 3 classroom-based progression route is desirable.

“Therefore, this government will explore introducing a T Level which focuses on the beauty sector, with the expectation that this could be introduced after 2025.

“This differs from feedback we have had from representatives in the hair sector, which has led us to conclude that the best route is for learners to progress into their industry through completion of an existing level 2 or level 3 apprenticeship or a level 2 classroom-based qualification. As such, we will no longer be introducing a combined T Level.”

He added that to support apprenticeships in the hair sector, the government has increased funding: by 57% for the Level 2 Hairdressing Professional standard and 28% for the Level 2 Barbering apprenticeship.

victoria brownlieVictoria Brownlie, chief policy officer at the British Beauty Council, comments: “The Council has expressed ongoing concerns around the suitability of a hairdressing T Level, so is pleased that the Department for Education has taken this on board and shelved any further implementation.

“Minister Halfon has cited apprenticeships as the best route for learners within the hair sector. Work now begins to ensure that apprenticeships remain fit for purpose; delivering salon-ready individuals with the key skills needed to work and grow amongst their fellow professionals.”

Caroline Larissey HeadshotCaroline Larissey, National Hair & Beauty Federation chief executive, adds: “Following several meetings, where we outlined the concerns of our members, we are pleased that the Minister for Education has taken on board our recommendations to support our sector, by focusing on a beauty T level and no longer introducing a combined HBBT T Level. It is envisioned that the beauty T level will provide academic kudos with stakeholders for progression into advanced therapies and aesthetics, because of its greater technical and academic bias compared with the traditional vocational pathway.

“Employers from hair salons and barbershops will always prefer that a prospective employee should enter the sector via a ‘job-ready’ route or qualification, such as an apprenticeship or through an equivalent college-based level 2 qualification.”

By Editor