A SCOTTISH hairdressing business has revealed plans to invest £500,000 in a new hair salon and barber school in Glasgow, in part to tackle a skills shortage arising from the pandemic.
Sovereign Grooming, run by Kyle Ross and Ryan Crighton, declared its ambition to train 600 barbers at the school over the next decade.
It is developing the facility over three floors in an A-listed building on Renfield Street, which dates from the 1890s and was designed by the architect William Leiper.
The investment comes as the National Hair and Beauty Federation estimates the number of new stylists qualifying in the industry has fallen by 50 per cent amid the fall-out from the pandemic.
Sovereign plans to create an initial 20 jobs at its new school, which it said will offer intensive 15-week courses to equip graduates with the formal qualifications needed to launch a career in the men’s hair sector.
In addition to the training school, which will be located on the basement, the new premises will offer hair and beard services and male-focused beauty treatments on the first floor. The group will house its new headquarters on the third level. It hopes to launch the new space in November.
The company currently has salons on Union Street, Aberdeen, and at New Waverley in Edinburgh.
Mr Ross, a two-time winner of Scottish Barber of the Year, who will oversee the training, said: “The employment prospects of many young people were decimated by Covid-19 and we want to offer an accelerated pathway into a brilliant career. The industry was facing a skills crisis before Covid, and this has been exacerbated by the extended shutdowns the sector has experienced since April 2020.
“Scotland’s salons need a fresh injection of talent as soon as possible and we are working with partners to deliver the equivalent of an apprenticeship, condensed into an intense 15-week full-time course.”
Sovereign has received fresh backing for the venture from investors led by MB Martin & Partners, which specialises in supporting early-stage companies with growth potential.