Sally Montague started hairdressing at age 15 and opened her first salon six years later.

She now owns and runs a group of seven salons in Derbyshire, including a £1 million state-of-the-art luxury town spa and hair studio – The House of Sally Montague – that she opened in Ashbourne in 2019. A highly respected businesswoman and Derby’s most successful hairdresser, she employs a team of 60 and is passionate about training the next generation of hairdressers, creating a Five-Star Apprenticeship Scheme for new trainees.
Says Sally: “My parents didn’t want me to be a hairdresser, they wanted me to go to university like my siblings. But I had a Saturday job in hairdressing and I just loved it. 

“There’s a real misconception that hairdressers are people who don’t do well in school and have no other options, but that’s so untrue. There’s real science behind hairdressing – you’re handling chemicals and calculating colour formulae – and I think sometimes parents have to see that to understand all the opportunities this job can give.

“I have three daughters of my own and I understand that all you want is for your kids to go into a worthwhile career. That’s why when I advertise our apprentices I invite their parents in at the start so they can be part of it. We’ve created an ‘open session’, so that people can get a taste of who we are and how we work, and we encourage not just young people, but also their family and friends to come along and attend a training session with our current apprentices. It’s good to see hairdressing in action like that.

In order to encourage local youngsters into the profession, Sally created a bespoke 5-Star Apprenticeship, based around key points that are easy for both learners and their parents to understand and see the longterm prospects: education, opportunities, salons, stylist development and future growth.

“We believe in learning ‘the right way’ and not ‘the quick way’,” says Sally. “Creating this apprenticeship made me raise my own game as well, creating a more exciting and vaired programme for our apprentices.” 

Once onboard, apprentices train towards their NVQ levels 1 and 2 and will then be ready to work on the salon floor as a stylist. However, training does not stop there; stylists then go on to work towards their NVQ Level 3 to advance their skills further.

“Nearly all the stylists working in my salons came through our apprenticeship scheme,” says Sally, “and they enjoy the best opportunities the hair industry has to offer, from inspiring education to excellent rates of pay and creative opportunites. They have been trained in our salons and worked with us on the shoots and shows we do, including working at London Fashion Week with my daughter Angel. In fact, our apprentices do become like family – I genuinely care about them and want the best for them, just like their own parents do.”

Interested in an apprenticeship at Sally Montague?
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