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Choosing what to study can be challenging. Speak to one of our advisors to find out what your options are.

Advice & Help Centre

This study programme is designed for 16 to 19 year olds (aged 19 to 24 for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan).

All courses take place on our Sixth Form Campus, therefore any applicants aged 25+ or over who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan may be required to complete a DBS check as part of the conditional offer to West Suffolk College. The cost to the applicant for a DBS is £30.00 and the DBS check can be completed through the college.

Please visit our Adult EducationDegrees and Employer section for alternative courses.

About the course

This is the first year of formal training to become a professional barber. You will be trained in a broad range of personal and technical skills that you will require to be confident in this career. You will be in college for approximately 3 days a week,  although there may be some weeks that require you to attend extra days, ensuring plenty of notice is given, You will be required to study English and Maths also as part of your study programme, only students that have achieved a Grade 4 in both subjects will be exempt from this part of the programme. You will learn both theory and practical knowledge and this will support you in assignments and exams for each unit of your qualification and the practical assessments that you will have to achieve in order to pass. You will be required to attend Progression and Personal Development lessons once a week to prepare you for work. You will also be expected to have real work experience in a professional barber shop for a minimum of 60 hours over the year, this will be recorded and monitored by your course director, you will need to complete a log of the hours and experiences you have whilst in this placement.  

Entry requirements

Students will be able to start at this level if they have achieved a grade 3 in English & Maths at GCSE. Some students may have completed an Entry level Hairdressing or Beauty Therapy programme during year 10 & 11 of Key Stage 4 in formal education, but will need to have also achieved at least a grade 3 in English & Maths. 


This is a City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Barbering 

What you'll learn (core modules)

003 - Shampooing and Conditioning 
006 - Skin Care 
101 - Introduction to the hair and beauty sector 
102 - Presenting a Professional Image 
104 - Styling Men's Hair 
112 - Create a Hair and Beauty Image 
113 - Health and Safety
115 - Working with others 
217 - The Art of Colouring Hair  


Please note you will learn to work both long and short hair. The units have been carefully selected to ensure all learners are prepared to progress onto a Level 2 programme and become confident in their chosen profession.   

Benefits, skills and character strengths

Working in the hairdressing, barbering & beauty industry attracts passionate, artistic and hardworking individuals, this is a demanding industry where maximum job satisfaction is guaranteed for the right person. A full-time course here at West Suffolk College offers you the opportunity to work on building your knowledge and life skills whilst planned, focused training happens weekly to ensure you have the skills required to provide high standards and excellent customer service skills.  You will get the opportunity to take part in local and national competitions, to visit trade shows, experience training and experience showcase events that are related to the industry. You will benefit from endorsement of industry leaders and this will bring opportunities for employment that benefit your long term career. 


This is an industry where teamwork, artistry and personal flair is part of every working day and that brings with it the responsibility and rewards that ensure that every day is a new and exciting challenge. If you are looking for a long term, varied career that motivates and inspires your passion then this is the career for you. 

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be on a unit by unit basis, each having both theory and practical elements to achieve, you will be given feedback as you progress through the skills and then once you are ready you will be prepared for assessment tasks. The majority of units offer a Pass, Merit or Distinction grading system which allows learners to be awarded for going the extra mile. All achievement will be recorded on our ILP system and you will be given regular targets to achieve as you work through the qualification. You will have a work placement log to complete that will record your hours at your placement salon/shop. You can use your PPD session to record your experiences and reflect on what you have learnt. You will need to gain this work placement, so find a business that is easy to travel to.

Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)

The Academy of Hair and Beauty Studies at West Suffolk College

Where will the course take me?

You may progress on to achieve a  Level 2 Professional Standard in Barbering, this would mean you would be employed full time in a barber shop while studying to achieve your qualification. 

Another option is to stay on as a full time student and progress onto a  Level 2 Technical Certificate in Barbering. 

Will I need any materials or equipment?

Yes, there will be uniform to purchase and some equipment too, as you will need to have the tools of the trade to perform your skills. The details regarding these tools, equipment and uniform will be given out as you enrol onto the programme in late June. The uniform will consist of self sourced black tailored trousers or leggings, Logo'ed polo shirt, plain black cardigan and flat solid black closed in shoes/trainers. Each learner is required to buy a recommended text book that supports the knowledge delivered for this course. You will need to consider additional costs for trips and activities throughout the year. 


Approximate cost of the kit: £300  

Approximate cost of the polo shirt: £20 

How much will it cost?

There is Government funding for students between 16-19 years old for the cost of the course. The cost of uniform/kit/equipment will be discussed at enrolment, you will be given an order form and must order from that the complete kit. 


Approximate cost of the kit: £300  

Approximate cost of the polo shirt: £20 

I'm interested. What should I do now?

Apply online to enable us to contact you, then you will be invited in for an interview and for you to meet the team! Please have a look for a barber shop that will allow you to do your hours of work experience. Spend time on Instagram looking at the most influential barbers to get a feel for what is on trend at the moment, see what styles and looks you are most interested in learning how to achieve. 

Days & times

Starting September 2023

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If there is anything more you would like to know about this course, please message us here.

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