At a glance

Student Level

SVQ Level 2 (or equivalent)


Demos, theory, practical
Mon-Fri, 9.00am – 5.00pm


26 weeks

Start Dates

Two intakes a year – March/April and September/October

You'll Achieve

City and Guilds SVQ Level 3


£7,600. Funding may be available. Deposit of £2,000 required before start.

All the ins and outs

This fast-track course for Level 3 is a full-time programme covering everything from advanced cutting, creative colouring and creative styling to organising and styling a photoshoot. It's a 26-week programme resulting in SVQ Level 3 and the Rainbow Room International Diploma.

The programme is made up of seminars, interactive training sessions, hands-on practical sessions, lectures, text books, electronic presentations, live demonstrations, outside educators and online training. On completion, you will be a fully-qualified stylist, and can go on to work in a salon or train to become an Assessor or Manager.

Places are limited and entrance is by interview only. We ask you submit a written application form in the first instance (see below). It's important to apply at least two months in advance of the course starting, to allow time for the interview process.

Meet the mentors

The friendly faces who are here to ensure that you realise your full potential and achieve all your goals. Experienced stylists themselves, they know exactly what it takes to be a cut above the rest!


Academy Director

Leigh first came to RRI on work experience back in 1996, and quickly found herself hooked. She qualified in 1998, spent five years perfecting her craft and training as a teacher in our Buchanan Street salon, then opened the Academy in 2003. Now an influential figure in the UK hair industry, this year Leigh helped to develop the new SVQ Hairdressing qualifications for the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority. As a hairdresser, Leigh is exceptional at colouring hair and tackling complex, creative cuts. It’s her belief that changing the colour or style of a person’s hair can genuinely bring out a different side of their personality.

Combining her two roles, Leigh says, gives her best of both worlds: training the next generation of top stylists, while still being able to work directly with clients. She loves seeing students graduate to ‘finishing school’, and watching everything she’s taught them click into place. She calls those the ‘lightbulb moments’. Her philosophy for success is clear: strive for perfection, don’t make excuses, know your strengths (and weaknesses), accept criticism, have confidence and – most of all – be creative.


Training Director

Nikki joined RRI in 1998, at the tender age of 15. From that role as Saturday girl in the Royal Exchange Square salon, she went on to qualify as a stylist, do our teacher training programme (while still working with clients) and achieve her NVQ Level 3. Nikki taught her first course at the Academy in 2003. Since then, she has achieved her Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree and Academy Assessor qualification, and now teaches full-time at the Academy. Nikki knows first-hand that hairdressing can offer a really diverse and fast-paced career, and tries to instill that in her students, who she loves to see progressing week-on-week. Although she’ll always be extremely passionate about training, Nikki still gets a real buzz from working hands-on, colouring, cutting and styling her clients’ hair (she especially likes doing hair-ups for special occasions).


Salon Consultant

Caitlin joined RRI in 2009, and has been a qualified member of the Academy team since 2010. She qualified as an assessor in 2014 wand is delighted  to be joining the other Academy Assessors in developing RRI’s future stylists. In her own words, she loves teaching because 'I can help the students but develop myself too, as it keeps my own knowledge fresh'. She loves to see the students graduate and showcase their skills at seminars. Caitlin  has also achieved a Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree, giving her an advanced understanding of the science behind colouring (one of her favourite aspects of hairdressing). She can turn her hand to any hair type, but is a big fan of creating short, funky haircuts and putting hair up for nights out,and weddings and creating clean cut barbering. Her favourite is creative colour work and colour correction.. Whether she’s teaching or working directly with clients, her mantra is the same: be persistent, be patient, and be dedicated.


Art Director

Gabby loves spending time with her clients and transforming their style. She has recently completed her Schwarzkopf Master Colourist Degree and enjoys nothing more than transferring her new skills on to her clients. She’s a real master of colour correction and wedding hair, but her talents span everything from hair-up to gents cuts. In her nine years with RRI Gabby has complete many of our seminars, and has developed into one of our most accomplished Designer Stylists.  She played an integral role in the salon winning 'Salon Team of the Year' at the 2014 British Hairdressing Business Awards and Creative Head Most Wanted Awards.

As well as being George Square’s salon trainer, Gabby is also an Assessor at the RRI Academy. A real education enthusiast, she loves to see assistants join the business and progress through their journey to Stylist. She feels it’s important to inspire the next generation of hairdressers. In her own words, “Making a client feel amazing is the best feeling. The hard work pays off”.


Master Hair Designer


Salon Designer


Salon Designer

John Paul

Salon Director

An RRI living legend, John Paul has been with the company since qualifying as a stylist. What drove him back then still drives him now – ensuring his clients leave the salon looking and feeling amazing. John Paul is a master of all hairdressing techniques, and his broad-ranging clientele reflects that. For him, hairdressing is about being both imaginative and expressive, always with an eye on the latest trends. It’s this experience and commitment that have taken John Paul backstage to style the Scottish BAFTA’s, and runs the backstage salon at Scotland’s premier music festival TITP, where he’s styled a massive list of celebrities including Imagine Dragons, Stereophonics  and the mighty James Brown. 

Your Questions Answered

When is the next intake?

The Academy schedules two fast-track intakes per year- March/April and September/October. It’s important to make contact no less than six months prior to beginning the course, to allow for the application/interview process.

How much does it cost? Is the payment upfront?

£7,500. The overall cost can be broken down into installments but £2,000 is required before you start. In some cases, funding may be available through Government agencies or Local Authority support.  We'll give you all the information we have regarding this.

How long does the course last?

26 weeks each (6 months)

Can I take any holidays or time off during the course?

This can be arranged with the Academy Director, and is usually fine providing it doesn’t affect your progress.

Is there guaranteed employment after completion?

Unfortunately RRI can’t guarantee employment after this course. We can however ensure that if you succeed in this course you'll have gained key skills that most salons in addition to RRI look for.  If a position is available within RRI the Academy Director will make you aware of this.

Details, details...

Getting Here

You’ll find the Academy at 64 Howard Street, behind the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow. The closest transport is St Enoch Subway station, but we’re also just 5-10 minutes’ walk from Glasgow Central and Queen Street overground train stations.


Professional courses
RRI is an approved Individual Learning Accounts (ILA) training provider, and ILA can provide you with up to £200 towards any of our professional courses. ILA is also available for Assessors working towards Continual Professional Development (CPD).

Modern Apprenticeships
Skills Development Scotland contributes towards the funding of modern apprentices. Employers are also required to make a contribution to the student’s training.

Career Courses - Alternative Route
Extended payment plans are available for certain long-term courses.

For more information about ILA and our MA programme, please visit


For our SVQ courses, interviews are held once a month at the Academy. We’re looking for loads of enthusiasm and a genuine interest in modern hair trends.


You won’t need equipment for your interview, but you will need to purchase certain items before your apprenticeship starts. Please note that this list is inclusive but not exhaustive:

(Isinis, Denman, vent, paddle, roller, round (various sizes))
(detangling, cutting, barbering, tail/pintail)
(sectioning clips, scissors, thinning scissors, razor)
(hairdryer, straighteners, clippers/neck trimmers)
Appropriate-sized equipment bag
Mannequin head
Theory books – SVQ Level 2 and/or 3, depending on your course


You may need to provide your own models for your weekly Academy training days - just check the course details. Best start asking some friends and family now!

Download an application form

Download an application form and return it to us at the address on the cover or, if you don't have a printer, contact us and ask us to send you a copy of our 'Intensive Courses' application form.