Jessica Davies supervising apprentice Caitlin Simmonds at work in the salon
Jessica Davies supervising apprentice Caitlin Simmonds at work in the salon.

Jessica Davies was so impressed by the hairdressing apprenticeships she completed at the start of her career that she’s now employing apprentices in her own salon.

In last ten years, Jessica, 26, has developed from a Saturday girl to owning JD Hairdressing in Abersychan,  where she employs two apprentices, Caitlin Simmonds, 19, and Jordan Jones, 17.

She has achieved a childhood dream by becoming a qualified hairdresser but never dreamed she would own a business at the age of 21.

Having completed a Hairdressing Level 1 qualification at school whilst working at Hair on Harpers on a Saturday, she progressed to a Foundation Apprenticeship in Hairdressing at the of 16.

A Foundation Apprenticeship in Barbering and an Apprenticeship in Hairdressing followed before Jessica took the opportunity to buy the contents of Hair on Harpers five years ago. The salon was renamed JD Hairdressing and Jessica is now focused on growing the business before looking for expansion opportunities.

Her apprenticeships were delivered for the Welsh Government by ISA Training, based in Caerphilly, who are now also training Jessica’s apprentices.

“I was really lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn on the job and go on to complete my apprenticeships in Hairdressing and Barbering,” said Jessica, who lives in Pontypool. “I never thought I would one day have my own salon.

“Highlights for me are watching my apprentices and the business grow which is amazing. Having clients that have stuck by me through my journey from a Saturday girl to where I am now is unbelievable.

“I think an apprenticeship is the best way to learn. I learnt so much from the other apprentices when I started work. I want to be able to give young people the same opportunity that I had as an apprentice.

“Having apprentices in the salon is a massive help to the business and to me. If it were not for them, I wouldn’t be where I am now and the business would not be as successful as it is.”

Caitlin, who lives in Trevethin, has worked for Jessica for two years and has completed her Foundation Apprenticeship in Hairdressing, with plans to add Barbering to her CV next.

“Jessica is a really good boss,” she said. “She has helped me develop my confidence by pushing me out of my comfort zone. I always wanted to do an apprenticeship because, in my opinion, you learn more by training on the job rather than going to college.”

Donna Friend, ISA Training’s programme manager, said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic for us as a training provider to see our leamers develop and end up owning their own business which grows by using apprentices.

“Our employers want learners with real life skills and experience gained in the workplace which is exactly what Jessica has done.”

Incentives to employ an apprentice

The Welsh Government is offering employers a financial incentive to take on an apprentice before 28 February 2022, subject to available budget, to support workforce development.

Incentives of up to £4,000 are available for employing an apprentice aged 16 to 24,  up to £2,000 for an apprentice aged 25 and above and an additional £1,500 payment is available for employing each person with a disability.

Employers seeking more information about the incentives, are asked to visit the Business Wales Skills Gateway , email: or call 03301 228338.

The National Training Federation for Wales’s Apprenticeship Team handles all apprenticeship enquiries from employers that come through the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Skills Gateway.

The team and Wales’ Apprenticeship Programme are both funded by the Welsh Government with European Social Fund support.