We spoke to Industry Awards judge and HITO Assessor, Jeremy Scarle.

Jeremy started his hairdressing apprenticeship in 2007, after stumbling upon it by chance. It didn’t take long for hairdressing to become a passion – one that came with a posse of new friends and family.

“A day at work is like catching up with friends – I now have at least 50 surrogate mothers and 40 extra grandmothers!”

Read more on Jeremy here!


So, Jeremy, when did you start hairdressing?

I began my apprenticeship in 2007. If it wasn’t for a fundraising Workday in the community (forced by my high school), I probably would have floated through a Batchelor of Arts like so many school leavers looking for their “thing”.

I went and worked at the salon I got my hair cut, expecting to be a cleaner for the day – they got me washing hair! At the end of the day, I was offered an apprenticeship for the following year.

I hadn’t grown up longing to work with hair at all. I wanted to study music or dance full time. I soon realised you can’t get far without a steady income, so decided “earning while I was learning” meant I had a job to fund my passions – I could keep dancing and studying music, while earning a qualification.

Little did this shy 17 year old from New Plymouth know, that this job would become both a career and another passion.


What would you say you love most about the industry?

The variety, the people – I love to have a yarn!

My mind is naturally busy and over-active, so throwing myself into a busy day in the salon and thinking on my feet gives me a buzz and keeps me sane.

A day at work is like catching up with friends – I see more of my clients than I do of some friends and family; and now have at least 50 surrogate mothers and 40 extra grandmothers!


Why did you decide to become an assessor?

I’ve always enjoyed seeing things done right, and to a high standard.

Of course, I wanted to contribute more to the industry, and being a younger assessor, I knew I had a lot to offer.

It has been easier to build relationships with the majority of apprentices because we’re a similar generational level.

It’s just us and them, working together to get them qualified. So often we say the assessments are just like another day in the salon. If we can remove the nerves, we’re halfway there.

I love helping give apprentices that push to the finish line, whether it’s explaining something a different way or pointing them in the direction of new techniques – setting them up for success is what it’s all about!


Why is being qualified so important to you?

At the end of year 13, I was going to university to get a degree, because that’s what was done. There was never any suggestion a trade was an option. Those options were saved for the kids who weren’t turning up to class, the ‘less academic’.

Teachers were in disbelief I was beginning an apprenticeship: “have you not earned enough NCEA credits? have you failed level 3?”, were some of the questions I was asked. Boy, was I determined to prove them wrong!

As a hairdressing apprenticeship takes at least three years of study, along with full time work, it’s exactly the same as studying at Uni and getting a degree – only harder on our unconditioned bodies, and without the weekly student nights out!

Being qualified shows that you were prepared to hang in there for the long haul and learn all the foundations. You have what it takes! Show your clients that THEY are the lucky ones to be sitting in your chair.

Do you have any advice for apprentices preparing for their 2757 assessment?

During this pandemic, every hairdresser should have had a mannequin at home, next to the Panadol, a book and vitamin C!

If you do find yourself isolating – make the most of your time away from work.

Instead of scrolling through Instagram seeing what your friends were doing over the weekend, search out new hair reels or tutorials that will give you some new skills – your future will thank you for it.

Also, models! Finding the perfect heads of hair to showcase your work is key.

Your work isn’t what about they want – save that for the paying clients in the salon.

2757 needs to showcase proper reshape haircuts on 2 of your models – search for that girl that is prepared for a change, doesn’t have too much hair and will let you go for it.

Stick to the types of work you can do well and work harder at the weaker areas.

If you are great at shorter haircuts, pick these for your cut elements; if you don’t do a lot of long hair work, set a mannequin up in front of your nightly Netflix and grow your confidence.

In these times more than ever, it’s important to have back up models, because if the past two years have taught us anything, we just never know what life will throw at us. We need to be one step ahead.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help – we can’t know it all and we will never know enough.

Reach out to your trainer, a colleague, your assessor; if something isn’t clear, or even if you forgot how to perm! Remember that no question is stupid, unless it’s asked too late…

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