Teenage former Derby College apprentice Brad Knight says "dream big" – as his barber's business kicks-on with professional footballers among its clients.
The business-savvy nineteen-year-old said the teaching in his NVQ Level 2 in Barbering was "brilliant". Together with his shop-based apprentice training it gave him the barbering and business background he needed to start up on his own.
Brad began by cutting his mates' hair at school and applied after his GCSEs when Deakin and White in Ilkeston advertised for an experienced member of staff.
Aged 16, he explained he was not experienced, but he was willing to learn. He was taken on as an apprentice.
He qualified at Deakin and White where he said he felt he needed to "offer something different". Nottingham Forest fan Brad used social media to contact one of the players and offered to do his hair at home. He accepted, word got round on the training ground, and "some of the players started coming in."
Keen to develop, he moved on to a shop in Sandiacre for six months but decided it made sense to open his own business in Ilkeston. Knight & Co was launched on Bath Street last September.
He now cuts the hair of a number of professional footballers – at their homes or in the shop –and was even flown out to Marseille during the under 20s world Cup in France to cut players' hair.
Brad now has two members of staff on the books, including a former Derby College student, and in future he plans to take on an apprentice himself.
He said: "It's quality. I absolutely love it. In the future I'd like to open more shops and maybe go international. Dream big."
I did one day a week at Derby College doing my NVQ Level 2. It was good – my tutor was brilliant and she got us through it really well, no beating about the bush. She just got on with it. The hairstyles I didn't get in the salon, I could get at the college.
There is only so much you can do in the shop as an apprentice, and you need to get your qualifications.
"She showed us how to run a shop, and I got a lot of the business side though my apprenticeship just by being in the shop. I could see how it was running.