Research Proposal on How a Commercial Salon Can Prepare FE Students for Current Industry Practices in Beauty Therapy

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This research proposal will take place in Barnfield College within the Beauty Therapy section and is to review, initiate and implement an action research project in the area of my current practises, which is Beauty Therapy. Since starting my placement teaching hours at Barnfield College I have noticed a gap in how the courses are run in this subject area which leads to my exploration of how a commercial salon can prepare FE students for current industry practises in Beauty Therapy. This is an important consideration for both awarding bodies and colleges as an alternative process for this course could increase popularity, pass rates, overall results and career prospects.


I have reviewed how colleges are running their FE Beauty Therapy courses and from teaching in this section as well it has appeared that there could be an alternative and improved way to run the course to promote professionalism and increased ability which can therefore prepare the FE students more effectively and efficiently for immediate career progression once qualified. As an example, currently, there is a reception, hair salons and beauty treatment rooms in the college. The lessons are moulded into theory and practical which are taken place mostly in the practical rooms on the beauty beds. The client sessions are limited due to popularity e.g. no advertisement, and attendance of students mostly because lack of students motivation, behaviour and attitude.

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Running the courses like a commercial salon would mean having separate theory lessons in a classroom with desks and chairs allowing students to be comfortable and more open to learning the theory as well as client sessions with appointment systems on the computer in the beauty room. This is to show students what their clients are booked in for, when arrived and when payed allowing students to have more control of the running of client sessions.

Aims and Objectives

The Aims of this research is to explore whether running a commercial salon in colleges would improve Further Education students current industry practises which also investigates how much work experience contributes to newly qualified therapists attaining a job straight out of college. Therefore do all FE students have an equal opportunity to get a job once qualified?

The objective of this research is to show that it is overall more beneficial for Colleges, Employers, Students and Teachers to run a Beauty Therapy course as a commercial running salon. This will be achieved by collecting relevant literature to support my hypothesis as well as using Primary data to too explore and analyse others opinions in contrast with the secondary data to conclude an overall proposal of this research.


In my opinion, developing the running of the Beauty course into a commercial running salon would not only increase the popularity of student’s client sessions, bringing more money into the college but also prepare students for current industry practises. I myself have experienced studying in a commercial running salon as part of my beauty course and it allowed me to gain confidence in talking and understanding ad adapting to client’s personal needs, the running of the salon, maintaining a running column, retailing products and gave me a better understanding of applying theory to practice.


I am expecting a positive correlation theme between the influence of work experience on students and the feedback of the questionnaire. This theme will be able to help my plans and to give my proposal of exploring the possibility of changing the Beauty Therapy course into a salon run course to the head of department as well as the head of Barnfield College. This can be possible as Barnfield are starting plans to renovate and re build the college so this proposal can be easily incorporated to the new plans of the beauty department.


Throughout this research I have examined various techniques that explore data quality, advantages, disadvantages and strategies to ensure the data is valid, reliable and fair.

As part of this research I am a non-participant observer as I am observing from the outside without getting involved however I can also be seen as a participant observer as I have been a student at Barnfield College in the Beauty Department for my Foundation Degree and am now in partnership with the college as part of the teacher training course. This can be seen as biased as I could change the behaviours of those being observed therefore to make it fair I will not have discussions with those who are filling out the questionnaire or be with them at time of completion so my opinions won’t influence change.

Books, articles and journals have been used as part of my secondary data findings which will be analysed in my literature review. This literature will be critically discussed in debate of validity, reliability and fairness of my research proposal question and will be mainly focused on how experience provided to Further Education students effects their job chances once qualified.

(Jankowicz 2010) states when the researcher is well aware of the techniques to be used and requirements of the research, the questionnaire method is efficient for collecting the primary data. This is why my primary data (the questionnaires) have been made with closed end questions to shorten the length of answers and to also get a straight answer which makes the questionnaire fair as open-ended questions would mean the researcher would have to assume the answers therefore not reliable or valid.

Qualitative and Quantitative research methods are commonly used in studied conducted to reach reliable and valid information in market research. Some researchers can use these together, which is called mixed methods. Qualitative methods are based on a wider scope from both random and non random sampling gaining large numbers for highly structured research which is analysed and interpreted in statistic calculations meaning the results are more specific but more generalised with exact numerical results. However, quantitative research methods is based on subjectivity and a more narrow scope as quality is important not the number of participants. The data collected in this method is less structured and analysed by quotation and meaning research and therefore the results will be deeper but less generalised with indefinite results. (Oflazoglu, 2017) explanation has made it clear that I am participating in a quantities research method.

I have considered all important factors of how to gather my research and have come to the conclusion that the questionnaire will be formulated online to reduce paper consumption and this also allows distribution to be wider and is convenient to access for all participants as they will not need to go out of their way to collect the questionnaire which can make the questionnaire more appealing to participate in. Students and teachers participating also have access to online facilities within the college. The website being used for the questionnaire does not require participants to make an account or ask for any personal information. At the start it asks for an occupation of teacher, student, and employer or rather not say option but no other demographic profile questions such as age or gender will be asked. The questionnaire consists of the same questions regardless of occupation stated and answers are either yes, maybe or no. By doing the questionnaire online it gathers all the data from the answers together and will calculate the % in groups of teacher, student and employer answers. All of these features provide a fair, reliable and valid outcome of research.


I am aware of Bera Guidelines, teaching standards and GDPR policies hence all that are partly or fully taking place in this research will all sign a consent form which firstly introduces myself, I then continue to express before agreeing to sign I wanted to reassure participants about confidentiality. I then state that their names will not be revealed and all information provided will be treated confidentially as I am the only person who will have access to the data provided and there is no need to reveal your name, so their identity will not be revealed. If they are happy with the information a signature is requested.

Furthermore, there will be attached an ethics from (Appendix) the questions will also be sent for ethical authorisation to ensure there were no further problems. No audio, Video or Pictures were taken and all correspondents of the questionnaire were informed of the purpose of the research and had the option not to participate.


Stage Activity Timeline of completion

Research Design and Planning Finalise research question Day 1

Develop research design Day 3

Prepare research proposal Day 6

Literature review Search and gather relevant literature Day 8

Prepare draft literature review Day 11

Data Collection Finalise sampling plan Day 16

Develop data collection methods Day 18

Test data collection instrument Day 20

Carry out data collection Day 21

Write up data collection Day 26

Data analysis Prepare data for analysis Day 27

Analyse data Day 27

Conclude and recommendations Day 28

Writing Up Final draft of report Day 30

Review draft Day 31

Final editing Day 33

Final submission Day 34

Literature Review

Enterprise incorporated in further education explores the strengths of leadership and management that result in the successful development of students’ enterprise-related skills and entrepreneurial capability as well as promoting economic growth and improving economic prosperity which is a key focus of the government and industry suggests The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED, 2012). Ofsted carried out a study about good practicing involving work experience related to education and learning in 2010 which involved numerous surveys, inspections and gathering of information to come to a concluded discussion. They stated that in previous inspections related to education and training has been judged to be good or outstanding with key strengths in planning, delivering or reviewing provision and found clear benefits for learners, employers and institutes. This helps the theory of running a work experience related course such as a commercial salon in a Beauty Therapy course would have numerous benefits to those involved as (OFSTED, 2010) continued to express how employers gained well skilled and knowledgeable staff who understood their work roles and contributed effectively to business performances more so than those who did not have work experience and the newly qualified students ‘staff’ were better motivated and committed , furthermore, retention had improved as a result of this. In addition employer’s interviews reported less disruption in the workplace because training was tailored to meet their need and minimised their employee’s absence from work. A salon owner observed that newly qualified therapists from a commercial running salon college adapted better to the working arrangements in her salon and consequently contributed to her business more effectively. However this feedback from OFSTED and employers shows that students may not all have equal opportunities to get a job if they have not had any work experience as it portrays newly qualified therapists without any workplace experience would be more disruptive, need more breaks and have more absences as well as little adaptation skills.

To continue, The college staff had also benefited, and had enhanced their own offer to learners by involving themselves for example, managers of the salon even more meant they kept up to date with the latest developments in the sector and improved their technical knowledge and skills therefore helped to ensure that theory and practical work completed during training was successfully aligned to professional practice at work. This analysis of data is valid as Ofsted are reliable regulators and inspectors that achieve excellence in the care of education and skills for learners of all ages and can be used as fair support for this proposal.

Further to this the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS, 2017) advises how important work experience for getting a job after qualifying stating a recent survey showed “two thirds of employers look for graduates with relevant work experience because it helps them prepare for work and develop general business awareness. Importantly, one third of employers felt that applicants did not have satisfactory level of knowledge about their chosen career or job”. According to the report New Vision for Education (World Economic Forum, 2020) job candidates top skills required for the 21st century are: foundational literacies such as numeracy, ICT and finance; Competencies – critical thinking, problem solving and communication; Character qualities, for example, Initiative, adaptability and leadership. These top 3 skills potentially lead to long-term benefits such as lifelong learning and higher rates of employment and educational fulfilment. Subsequently advising those who have industry related experience have a better chance of attaining a job than those who don’t which is another supportive abstract of how running the college as a commercial salon would prepare FE students for current industry practices.

(Hiscock and Lovett, 2004) guides students to always participate in some form of work related activities such as working in a commercial salon as this prevents students from just working towards a qualification but helps to understand how to increase a client base and help grow a profit by giving a professional service by enthusiastic and motivated students which can lead to nurturing and development of potentially becoming business owners. They continue to express that this invaluable experience contributes to the certain tools needed to cultivate and nurture the growth of skills, confidence and ability. In that respect, students who have working experience in the industry have a better opportunity to own their own business and go further in their career.

This contributes to the exploration of do all FE students have equal opportunities to getting a job. (Council of Europe. Directorate of Social and Economic Affairs, 1998) suggests that a main characteristic of equal opportunities does not factor experience within the industry already but they emphasise that racial discrimination and the current labour market situation generally reduce chances on the job market. They continue to express that from gathered information it is believed that ethnic origin precluded them from getting a certain job and despite their best efforts they have little chance of finding work regardless of their work experience and qualifications. Therefore this can suggest regardless if students have had work experience or not, in some situations and companies not all students have an equal opportunity.

My interpretation of the context supports my hypothesis therefore I am confident with my research proposal and taking this to Barnfield College as a proposal of improvement for the new build.


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