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Private vs Public Training

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Private training versus public training - Everything you need to know!

If you are considering a career in the Beauty industry there are a few issues you may want to consider beforehand to establish which route you should take and which will work best for you.

If you are already a qualified beauty/holistic therapist, lash technician or nail technician you may be considering additional training to enhance your portfolio, this article will help you decide which route to take.

We all have different lifestyles and commitments, so what works for one person may not suit you, take into consideration some of the points listed below.

College pros

  • More hours spent in class with supervision from trainer, if you are practising at home you won't have the trainer there to keep you right. You may find it difficult to commit to practice out with college hours.

  • New friends and relationships can be formed when you are attending college for a period of time. It gives you a chance to socialise with people who are interested in the same industry as yourself.

  • More funding is available through government schemes in colleges compared to private training providers. This can make a huge difference to some people.

  • More time for practical work as you will be attending regularly and carrying out practical work on a constant basis with supervision from trainer.

  • Childcare facilities are available for people undertaking full time college courses.

  • External or additional courses are sometimes available to advance or further your education.

Private pros

  • Qualifications are obtained in a short period of time as private courses are usually from 1 day to 5 days training depending on the qualification.

  • Private training providers tend to have smaller groups which may suit some people who don't feel comfortable in larger groups and may feel overwhelmed. In a smaller group some people may find it easier to ask questions and speak out if there is anything they are not sure of during the training period.

  • Smaller groups can mean a more one to one time with the trainer, they will have more time to spend individually with students compared to training a large number of people.

  • Private training providers tend to keep more up to date with new trends and training and can be more versatile with courses they offer.

  • Private training providers are more flexible in the courses they offer which means students can build up their portfolio and only undertake courses they are interested in learning.

College cons

  • It takes longer to qualify as most courses are offered on a full time/part time or evening timetable.

  • College groups tend to be much larger, some people may find this intimidating and would prefer a smaller intimate environment.

  • College lecturers may have less time to spend with individual students due to large numbers in classes and timetables can be strict, they may not have time for questions or problems after class.

  • More time will be spent in class covering theory work which some people would prefer to do at home after initial practical training.

  • You have to commit to the college timetable once you have enrolled on your course and attend regularly to avoid missing any tuition within the course so as not to fall behind.

Private cons

  • As most private training courses are short and fast track you may not have time to get to know your fellow students or build new friendships.

  • Private training can be expensive with less funding available compared to college training.

  • Most private courses will be self funded.

  • You will have a limited period of time to spend on practical work so you have to commit to lots of practice out with the training course.

  • Finding reputable training schools can be quite difficult as there are many offering training which may not be accredited by an awarding body or charging huge training fees for not much training.

I have 5 years of experience working as a college lecturer and 11 years of experience as a private trainer, both have been very rewarding and I have met some lovely people during my teaching career. In my opinion it depends on each individual which route they should take, if you are opting for college training it is a very big commitment as far as attendance is concerned, whereas with private training you will spend much less time attending but will have to commit to working hard out with the training days.

Whatever route you decide to go, do your research and find out as much information as you can before making a commitment.

Working in the beauty industry is hard work but a very rewarding career, be prepared to set aside sufficient time for studying and practicing. Keep up to date with new trends and aim to be the best you possibly can. There is huge competition in regards to our industry and I’m sure this will continue in the future so it is worth considering all the facts before you commit to any training.

Below are quotes from Ellen J Burt Stewart, Carolyn Carroll, Heather McMurray, Donna Black and Leanne Harber. All from a variety of teaching & learning backgrounds.

Here are the thoughts on college versus private from industry experts from a variety of backgrounds:

Ellen J Burt Stewart - Educator

“I think college training offers inclusion in that, it’s accessible to everyone regardless of ability, financial status and, personal restrictions, like child care. College courses however, tend to have large numbers in each class and the curriculum is set within strict guidelines with limited resources determined by tight budgets. Private training can be expensive, therefore not always accessible, but offers training in smaller numbers, so more one to one attention, and courses are on line with current up to date trends.”

Donna Black – Massage Therapist at Sole-to-Sole Salon

‘After having worked in the care sector for a number of years and gaining degree status through college and university, I decided I would like a career change, I wanted to go down the route of Holistic Therapy. After having experienced college and university I felt I didn’t want to be attending and committing to college for a number of years, I then researched private training and decided this would be the best route for me to take, I found private 1-1 training was an excellent way to learn a new skill and apart from working in a salon I have also incorporated Holistic Therapy into my work as a support worker offering service users calming, relaxing treatments in their own environment. Although I enjoyed college and university at the time, it was a very big commitment and I found the private training I received, although less time consuming, was the correct route to take for me at that time.

Carolyn Carroll - Owner of The Beauty Post Salon

“I found with following private training that I had more confidence in my treatments due to more personalised instruction from my trainer. Any areas that I struggled with were picked up quicker than in a college environment due to large class numbers. I feel I have more confidence and skills carrying out nail treatments than the students that studied in college, and they have agreed with me.”

Heather McMurray - Team leader at The Priory Group

"As a single mother I feel college can be a huge commitment for most and it may not suit your family needs, i.e. childcare, funding and time. I believe from my personal experience being a single parent I found it very difficult to find the correct life balance. I did my own research online and found so many independent companies who could help give me the qualifications I needed to fulfil my current role without all the added stress of college commitment. My experience with private training was very positive. I felt it was personal centred to my specific needs, as well as having more direct learning and 1-1 support with my lecturer. I would highly recommend private training especially for full time working mothers."

Leanne Harber - Owner of Ultimate

"My name is Leanne Harber, and I have been in the Beauty Industry for 28 years - around 18 years of this as a trainer myself. I have both been taught in a college environment, private courses and now as a trainer with my own Academy. I opted for private training as this was best for me, and here's the reasons why; I am dyslexic and consequently a very visual learner, so for me it was all about the practical. I found college courses focused a lot on paperwork and I really didn't suit my needs. Also, I found that having 1 college tutor for 16+ students wasn't efficient and didn't feel I received enough time with the tutor. Whilst my dyslexia has been a challenge I am a very quick learner, and the college environment just didn't suit my practical skill needs. Therefore, I went down the short course route and absolutely loved it. Some people don't think the short course is sufficient, however, for me I still did all the reading and research, but in my own time. Going back to teaching, I did enjoy teaching in a college environment - I would go to the college and deliver the advance day courses or workshops. Again, as I alluded to earlier regarding the time spent by tutors with individual students, I also felt I couldn't give enough time that I would like to each student. With my short course I am able to give each student sufficient time individually which ultimately allows me to feel I have done my job properly. This blog is an excellent way to provide a view of both sides, as everyone is different and has a preferred way of learning and/or teaching. Hopefully colleges can look to either improve or tailor their courses for students which I feel will only help the student and the experience of their courses." Leanne x


I hope this helps in some small way to guide you on the correct career choice for you!

If you have any questions or would like some help with your training decisions please contact me at FAO Kim.

Kim Gibb

BIA Assessor & Verifier

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