Francesco Group is one of the largest hairdressing companies in the UK. A family business, established more than 50 years ago, they rely on a steady supply of highly skilled hairdressers to staff their 30+ salons across the Midlands.
To get a head start on recruitment, they sponsor hairdressing academies at colleges around the country. This includes an academy at Walsall College.
This pioneering approach means Francesco Group ensure training is relevant and that college graduates are ready for employment.
Ben Dellicompagni, co-managing director said: “Francesco Group has always considered the training of commercially ready hairdressers as critically important to the needs of our franchises and the sector as a whole.
“Our industry only survives because of its people. Their skills and development is fundamental to what we achieve.”
About the salon
A state-of-the-art hairdressing salon within Walsall College’s Graduate Academy acts as a unique facility that mirrors Francesco Group salons in every way. This is from opening hours and revenue generation, to customer service, client retention and financial targets.
The initial partnership was not without its challenges. Not least, building a commercially run salon on a college estate.
Merging the college curriculum (hairdressing fundamentals, English, maths, IT and personal development-based tutorials) with Francesco Group’s expertise also took some effort.
Ben continued: “By taking a collaborative approach that focused on that commercial ethos, we overcame any hurdles. In the end, we found even better ways to motivate learners, along with lecturers and trainers.
“We have created a working environment and culture that inspires all and delivers high calibre professionals.”
Francesco Group and Walsall College are now reaching out to a new generation of hairdressers through the implementation of a traineeship programme.
Ben added: “Traineeships are another way for us to bring learning to life. We’re utilising the college’s strengths and Francesco Group’s provision of high quality work experience.
“The more people we train using the Francesco Group methodology, the more demand we create for people who want to work for us. This gives our franchises more choice when it comes to recruiting the very best talent. It makes them more effective people-wise, resulting in their further financial success.
“Our collaborative spirit will continue to thrive through these opportunities to develop the talents of aspiring hairdressers and salon owners.”
Ben is quick encourage others to support Walsall College’s Employer in Every Classroom programme.
“Employers should strongly influence what happens in further education,” he said. “I would encourage anyone to throw themselves into the programme, particularly if recruitment challenges are a concern.
“That next best person might just present themselves to you.”