Increasing professional recognition for those working in the hair and beauty sector could tackle the sector’s skills shortage, new research has found.

The report, carried out by the University of Limerick’s Management Development Unit (MDU) and funded by Image Skillnet, provides the first known research into upskilling and talent development in the hair and beauty sector.

According to the CSO, the hair and beauty industry employs 25,800 people in 9,286 businesses and is worth an estimated €2.6 billion to the coffers. However, the industry is constantly evolving with new trends, technologies and methods, which means that upskilling and new learning are an important part of the profession.

The report highlights the critical need for skills and talent development for hair and beauty professionals in Ireland. This highlights the particular need to develop and provide a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework that supports those working in the sector and addresses the skills needed to support the continued growth of the sector in Ireland.

Chantel Lamont (Image Skillnet), UL’s Siobhan Kennedy, Margaret O’Rourke Doherty (Image Skillnet) and UL’s Yvonne Delaney are launching a new study into skills in the hair and beauty sector.

The inquiry argues that the creation of such a training and development system would also enable consumers to make more informed choices when selecting professional services, and support training service providers. The established framework would also reduce the costs of continuous professional development through collective participation.

“This study illustrates what we all know very well. The hair and beauty industry is undervalued,” said Siobhan Kennedy, author and researcher at the University of Limerick.

“This investigation was as enjoyable as it was informative, and contributes to the growing evidence that the sector deserves greater recognition. There is a lot of energy in the industry and we have no doubt that this framework will become a reality.”

The study was conducted during the Covid 19 pandemic, which has thrown the industry, along with many others, into chaos. Hairdressers and beauty salons have faced widespread restrictions and closures due to the nature of the work and the close contact with customers. The report notes that the sector has demonstrated its resilience and creativity during the pandemic.

Image Skillnet Network Manager Margaret O’Rourke Doherty said: “Professionals in the hair and beauty industry are constantly upskilling and developing talent. Recognition of learning through a formal CPD framework will help strengthen both the external and internal standing and skillset of the industry and those within it. works”

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