How apprenticeships can work for your spa business

Diane Hey, founder of the Armonia Training Academy, outlines the benefits of apprenticeships and on-the-job training for spa businesses and their employees


By Wendy Golledge

27 October 2023

Since launching Armonia Training Academy in 2000, Diane Hey has championed the benefits of employment-ready training for the spa industry.

She has worked on several UK Government initiatives to raise and maintain standards for both trainees and employers.

Hey also consulted on the UK Department of Education’s Hair and Beauty T-level panel, ahead of the qualification’s launch, which is likely to take place in 2024.

European Spa talked exclusively to her about how apprenticeships can be used to combat the skills shortage facing spas.

female spa therapist training
The apprenticeship route provides a holistic pathway in a real working environment

Why are you so passionate about apprenticeships?

“Our mission is to enable employers to develop the thoughtful, empowered, highly skilled therapists that our industry so badly needs. This can be, and is, successfully achieved with apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are a pathway to employment, providing structure and relevant business skills. New knowledge and behaviours can be applied and honed for both apprentices and employers.

“It’s a fantastic way to grow your business and the people in it!”

Picture of a woman being massaged

How do apprentice schemes benefit spa operators?

“When done well, apprenticeships provide an increase in treatment hours and extend the average length of an employee’s stay.

“Plus there are financial benefits. In England, apprenticeships are funded up to a minimum of 95% and can use the employer levy funds.

“Operators may receive an additional employer’s enhancement (eligibility criteria apply).

“Apprenticeships are not only for young people, there may be staff who wish to upskill, sidestep or even change their careers.

“It’s a three-way partnership, between the employer, apprentice and provider, transparent to all involved, including any guest.”

Diane Hey

“Research shows more than 80% of apprentices stay in industry employment, with 64% likely to continue with the same employer once their apprenticeship ends. The outcome is highly skilled therapists who are trained in all your business’s activities."

Diane Hey

Founder, Armonia Training

Are apprenticeships hard to set up?

“I’m often frustrated by the belief that apprenticeships are difficult to deliver in the spa industry – this just isn’t the case.

“It’s crucial to provide a structured programme with clear outcomes and KPIs related to career progression, rewards and recognition. Strong communication is essential. Ifoperators make tweaks if they’re needed and work in partnership with their provider, apprenticeships can achieve the best for everyone.

“From day one apprentices contribute to their workplaces – they become the ‘angels’ of the spas they work in and are missed when they’re not there.”

For information about spa apprenticeships email

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About Armonia Training

Armonia is an independent learning provider that delivers apprenticeships for hotels, spas, beauty salons and the wellbeing sector with a mission to develop and empower highly skilled therapists and sector professionals of the future.


Diane Hey and her team use the National Apprenticeship Services Application System to advertise vacancies, checking the candidates’ eligibility before presenting them for interview to the employer. Industry partners include Gerrard International and Hand Picked Hotels.


In a recent Ofsted report (summer 2023) Armonia was given an overall rating of good, with a rating of outstanding in two areas – personal development and behaviours and attitudes.

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