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Salon initiative

Stylist opens barber school to tackle skills shortage

Kyle Ross: careers have been decimated

Staff shortages are now widespread and so deep-seated that some enterprising individuals are launching their own solutions to the problem with new enterprises.

Hair stylist Kyle Ross, a UK Best Barber winner, became so alarmed by the chronic lack of new talent coming into the sector that he has put £500,000 into a new salon and barber school in Glasgow.

Sovereign Grooming aims to train 600 barbers over the next decade to counter a Covid-19-related staffing crisis.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation believes the number of new stylists qualifying has dropped by 50% due to coronavirus.

Mr Ross has secured new funding to take over three floors (2,570 sq ft) of Category A-listed 38 Renfield Street, which dates back to the 1890s and is the work of Glasgow’s “other” architect, William Leiper.


An initial 20 jobs will be created for its intensive 15-week courses to equip graduates with the formal qualifications required to launch a career in the thriving men’s hair sector.

Acclaimed barber Kyle Ross, who together with marketing specialist Ryan Crighton also has salons on Union Street in Aberdeen and New Waverley in Edinburgh, said the business wants to help people “make up for lost time”. 

He said: “The employment prospects of many young people were decimated by Covid-19 and we want to offer an accelerated pathway into a brilliant career.

“The industry was facing a skills crisis before Covid, and this has been exacerbated by the extended shutdowns the sector has experienced since April 2020.

The business has received a fresh round of financial backing from its group of investors, led by MB Martin & Partners, which specialises in helping high-potential, early-stage companies grow.

Sovereign was advised by CBRE and law firm Aberdein Considine in the Glasgow deal and will open in the city in November.

Paul Jennings, Partner and Head of Commercial Real Estate at Aberdein Considine, said: “This is the third deal we’ve supported Sovereign on and it is fantastic to see an ambitious Scottish business expanding and creating jobs.

“Innovative brands like this are exactly what our high streets need as they bounce back from the pandemic and we wish them every success.”

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