HEE Report and the implications for the Irish aesthetics and beauty industry

A robust new standard in training

Complient with (EQF) European Qualifications Framework and the (NFQ) in Ireland.

I had an interesting conversation with a member of the aesthetic equipment sector. We were talking about the changing face of training, insurance & clinic safety initiatives and if we thought a governing body would implement all the recommendations of HEE. At the moment the guidelines for best practice in the aesthetics sector is voluntary here in Ireland and the UK.

He brought up a valid point that the sector has for years been saying there is a need for better standards in training, safety practices, client care but even with all the studies and reports written little tends to change. He is right; change is slow, and as for a top-down implementation by a regulated governing body, well, we usually hear all talk but little action.

While I agree in theory that little has changed for many years in Ireland, it would seem to me that is rapidly evolving and brought about directly because of the HEE Report. If you are unfamiliar with the HEE reports (HEE one) (HEE two) here is a brief outline. HEE (Health Education England) was appointed by the UK government in 2013 following the Keogh Report caused by the PIP breast implant scandal with the purpose to recommend new qualification guidelines for the UK’s aesthetic industry: surgical, non-surgical, medical and non-medical.

Why is it influencing the Irish aesthetics sector?

As many would know IQ/ITEC/VTCT, CIBTAC/BABTAC are fundamental in the UK aesthetics/beauty industry, as such training guidelines and training level structuring have been influenced by the HEE reports. Compounding this, other countries, in Asia, as an example, have also been pushing for more regulation and standardisation for better client outcomes and insurance purposes. IQ/ITEC/VTCT represents the largest and most respected awarding body for the aesthetics/beauty sector worldwide. With the need for worldwide accredited qualifications also means standardisation. So for them, directives taken on board in the UK have to be implemented throughout the training colleges for uniformity.

The HEE reports represent a fundamental shift in the industry

Unlike many studies and commentary about the aesthetics industry, the HEE reports were put together with the direct help of the industry. All levels of the sector engaged in the formation of the new qualification framework, including:

  • The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology
    (BABTAC)
  • The Private Independent Aesthetic Practices Association ( PIAPA)
  • The Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (HABIA)
  • The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACM)
  • The British College of Aesthetic Medicine ( BCAM)
  • The Royal College of Surgeons ( RCS)
  • The British Medical Laser Association (BMLA)
  • The Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)
  • Qualification awarding bodies (ITEC)
  • Independent industry professionals/treatment providers
  • Training providers

It is the first time representatives from the entire industry were engaged to come up with better methodologies for all the treatments carried out in the industry by our sector.

  • LIPLED – Laser, IPL and LED
  • CPSR – Chemical Peeling and other modalities of Skin Rejuvenation
    treatment including micro-needling and mesotherapy
  • BT – Botulinum Toxin
  • DF – Dermal Fillers
  • HRS – Hair Restoration Surgery

It not only facilitates better outcomes in training and client care but also aids in protecting the industry for everyone

Many people in the industry have raised concerns that we are evolving into a sector where nurses and above would replace traditional beauty therapists. While it is true, a conventional beauty therapy qualification is far removed from the technology-driven aesthetics sector; these new guidelines represent protection for therapists wishing to further their career. Within the HEE recommendations is a training structure that allows therapists to train from Level 4 all the way through to Level 7.

In fact, the industry taking on the new qualification framework allows therapists and nurses plus other associated health professionals a career path not available under the old training system.

I did outline the Level 4 to 7 training in Novembers Laser Training news article. However, here is the basic breakdown.

We now have Levels 4 through to 7 with each level representing the knowledge needed, complexity and associated risk factors of the treatments contained in each level.

I was trained by the equipment manufacturer or distributor why is this training no longer sufficient?

We are in agreeance with the HEE; supplier training is not adequate for the delivering of treatment safely and efficiently to the general public. Often the trainers are not qualified teachers or clinicians, and there is no agreed standard or curriculum. While many brands do facilitate training to a high standard, you can only learn so much in a day, with a day being the most common training length. Accredited qualifications follow a robust quality controlled course structure.

If you don’t change you will just be left behind

We are not the only company within the Irish aesthetics sector spearheading change; we know other companies are taking on board the HEE directives. It makes sense to anyone that has a passion for the industry that better training can only result in better client outcomes.

For manufacturers, distributors and beauty colleges, outsourcing your Laser & Light training to ATAI represents a cost-effective way to facilitate the highest level of training without the need of hiring qualified teachers and purchasing more equipment to adhere to course curriculums. Your staff, customers and learners achieve the highest level of accredited education while you are left to do what your company does best.

ATAI believe the best way to change an industry is to be what you believe the industry should reflect.

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