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European Year of Skills

Erasmus+ project to secure skilled workers in the hairdresser profession

The Erasmus+-funded project “Patent in Trade” came to an end in August 2023, after a two-year run. It was set up to promote the attractiveness of the hairdresser profession and consequently secure skilled workers for the profession in the long term.

Patent in Trade, picture

To reach this goal, the project brought together relevant partners to promote the profession and organise job-related stays abroad for apprentices. 

The number of apprentices in the hairdressing field has significantly decreased in the last 15 years. As a result, hairdressing jobs have been left unfilled, and the profession's future became uncertain. The Erasmus+-funded project “Patent in Trade” was launched to respond to this challenging backdrop.  

For this purpose, clear objectives were defined within the scope of the project: 

  • Securing trained professionals in the hairdressing industry: improving the appeal of the hairdresser occupation, finding the right candidates for apprenticeship jobs, and optimising selection procedures; 
  • Public relations work: using digital approaches such as social media to promote the hairdresser occupation and related opportunities for a successful career to the broader public; 
  • Job-related stays abroad: as part of Erasmus+ and the ProTandem Programme, participants completed a job-related stay abroad in Germany, France or Poland; 
  • Developing intercultural skills: these skills are considered a key competence for a successful career in the hairdresser profession; 
  • Promoting vocational and personal skills: the internship abroad teaches vocational skills, but also aims to promote apprentices' personal development. Confidence, responsibility, and motivation are key skills to strengthen. 

These goals were made possible by a closer cooperation between the participating hairdressing salons, vocational schools, chambers of trade, and the training companies. Partners from Germany, France, and Poland developed the curricula and educational guidelines in the form of international learning result units. These focused on digital advancements and innovative trends in the hairdressing field.  

Job-related stay abroad 

As part of Erasmus+ and the ProTandem Programme, participants completed a job-related stay abroad in Germany, France or Poland. The apprenticeship helped participants develop vocational, intercultural, and transferable skills. In addition to developing crucial skills, the experience helped broaden the professional horizon of participants. By making the most of international networking, the project aimed to create a lasting positive development for apprenticeships and the hairdresser profession, from which not only trainees but the whole industry can benefit.  

First project reflections 

Project leaders found that, with their colleagues in France and Poland, they were able to illustrate how versatile and modern the hairdresser profession is. In addition, organisers found that the Erasmus+-sponsored job-related stays abroad increased the appeal of hairdressing apprenticeships. 

The project has an Instagram account, available here, which was created to target young adults who are looking for an apprenticeship in the hairdressing industry.  

Overall, eight vocational schools where hairdressers are trained participated in the EU-funded project. In addition to the experience of job shadowing in a foreign country, participants also had the opportunity to network across regions. Apprentices found the exchange experience to be inspiring for further training, as well as for their professional and personal lives. 

Want to know more? Visit the project website here