An award-winning hairdressing group hopes to create a centre of excellence for hairdressing apprentices in the North of England by opening an academy in Leeds.
Westrow, which runs seven salons across Yorkshire, will launch £1m Westrow House in a month’s time. The 5,000sq ft building on Briggate will house state-of-the-art training facilities and offer NVQ Levels 1, 2 and 3 alongside bespoke creative and business courses.
Directors and long-term friends Marc Westerman and Steve Rowbottom are also planning to open an eighth salon in North Leeds in mid-November.
Next year they will undertake an ambitious expansion when they open up their business to external franchisees in Yorkshire and beyond.
Mr Rowbottom said: “We try to conduct ourselves in a professional manner and the business has grown on the back of that.
“Everyone works within the brand’s guidelines. People say that everything is about perception but we believe that quality is more important.”
Since Westerman and Rowbottom opened their first hairdressers in Leeds in 1987, the company has grown and grown.
Today, Westrow employs about 150 staff at any one time and has scooped a large number of industry awards.
This month, Westrow was shortlisted in the Business Thinker category at Creative HEAD’s 2013 awards.
It has since been nominated in three categories at the 2013 Your Hair awards.
Last year, the firm won Business Director of The Year at the British Hairdressing Business Awards.
Opening a training academy is a big step for Westrow. They anticipate taking on an initial 240 students and hope that the centre will attract hairdressers from salons across the North of England.
Mr Rowbottom said: “We’ve been in the business for more than 25 years and we’ve always trained our own kids.
“Now we have opened that up to other salons.”