New spa therapist traineeships launch in Scotland

The Academy is working with Trump Turnberry Spa, Fletcher's Cottage at Archerfield House, The Spa at Blythswood Square and The Macdonald Group


By Wendy Golledge

24 October 2023

Glasgow-based training provider, The Academy, has announced it has launched new bespoke spa therapist traineeships with four leading Scottish hotel chains.

The scheme first launched with Crerar Hotels in October 2022 in a bid to boost recruitment.

It was the first spa therapist training programme in Scotland to offer a recognised qualification and a guaranteed job at the end of the course.

The initiative has proved so successful it is now being introduced by Trump Turnberry Spa, Fletcher’s Cottage at Archerfield House, The Spa at Kimpton Blythswood Square and The Macdonald Group.

The Academy is also in discussion with additional as yet undisclosed spas and hotels.

The Nail Yard
The Nail Yard opened at Fletcher's Cottage on the Archerfield Estate earlier this year

CIBTAC-approved apprenticeships

The initiative offers a private apprenticeship through CIBTAC (The Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology).

Successful applicants are signed up and receive a monthly wage while training with The Academy and taking part in on-site work placements.

The Academy uses the same syllabus as colleges and delivers the same guided learning hours but over a shorter period to meet spa’s recruitment needs.

“This process is similar to an apprenticeship scheme but not government-funded. The spas are investing in employability themselves and offering novices a new career path.”

Jenny Storey

Director, The Academy

A fast-track to a spa career

Successful applicants are accelerated into therapist jobs within a three-month period. The fast-track programme requires no previous spa industry experience.

Full on-site learning and training makes it suitable for both recent school leavers and people considering a career change.

“In the beginning, we were questioned whether candidates could be successfully trained in a shorter period of time,” says Jenny Storey, who is director of The Academy alongside Kate Berry.

“The difference is we offer long, intense training days. This has been proven to help trainees retain knowledge better.

“We’re delivering a five-star therapist who is competent to work in a spa as soon as they’ve completed their course. This helps immensely with the current recruitment issues we are seeing across the industry.”

The view from the pool at Trump Turnberry Spa

Producing work-ready therapists

Candidates who successfully complete the course and pass the final exam will join the hotel chain as a permanent employee.

The Crerar Academy, part of Crerar Hotels, has been so successful that a student from the first traineeship was awarded CIBTAC student of the year.

Fletcher’s Cottage spa manager, Melanie O’Brien, says: “After struggling with recruitment post-Covid, we decided to go for it and put three candidates through the Academy’s programme. Choosing the right candidates is key, then the Academy takes care of the rest.

“We had our candidates with us for a week prior to them going to the Academy, to show them the ropes.

“After the two weeks of intensive training we started rotating our apprentices between study days, front-of-house shifts and a mix of massage and facial client columns.”

Menopause massage training by The Academy at the Turnberry
Menopause massage training by The Academy at The Spa at Turnberry

CIBTAC-endorsed therapist training

The Fletcher’s Cottage apprentices are now preparing for their final exams in November.

“I was concerned how the apprentices could learn skills that took me years to hone at college, but I’ve been blown away by the programme and the skill set our apprentices already have,’ adds O’Brien.

“My advice to anyone finding recruitment tough is to bite the bullet and embrace the process.”

The Academy also launched the world’s first CIBTAC-endorsed menopause massage training at The Spa at Turnberry in Ayrshire in March 2023.

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