Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Harry Pirate

Harry Pirate owns his own barbershop called Pirates barbershop in Bromley and also is a former London School of Barbering student, who came to us to improve his scissor work. It was great to have Harry join us at our West Smithfield academy as one of our guest judges for the final competition day of the year. The atmosphere was pure buzzing, not only was it nearly Christmas, but also our students were the last class of 2017 of our barbering training course – the 9 week NVQ 2 Diploma, so they were excited.

Our students showed buckets of enthusiasm, skill and professionalism in the hour they had to execute cool haircuts in the fade competition. They were delighted to have Harry on board to lend them some industry tips and expert advice from a barbershop owner who has worked in the industry for years. Harry was blown away by the standard that our students showcased and could see that our barbering courses ensure students have all the right barber requirements when they leave, in order to start working in the industry. We interviewed Harry and he discussed the barbering industry, our education and how barbering has changed his life, among other things. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
HP: My name is Harry Pirate. I am from South London and I own a barber shop called Pirates in East Street in Bromley.

LSB: How do you know about the London School of Barbering?
HP: I was here before as a graduate a couple of years back actually to get my scissor cutting skills up, which I found greatly helpful being here. It gave me a great platform to then build on, to take forward, to improve myself as a barber.

LSB: Tell us about your experience of LSB?
HP: Today was about coming back and giving back a little bit trying to inspire even one person and seeing some of the talents coming through. Now, rather than back then, it’s improved even from when I was doing it. The level has raised dramatically, that you know the level of the fades, the level of the scissor cutting, the shape.

LSB: What was your role here today at LSB?
HP: My task here today was to judge a competition on the NVQ 2 graduates. They do a competition at the end of their 9 week course, where they are judged on speed, cleanliness, level of fades, level of haircut, technique, difficulty of the cut. We judged based on that today only, nothing else. We don’t know any of the graduates personally, so it was purely based on consistency what and we saw today.

LSB: What do you think about the state of barbering today?
HP: I love being asked this question because everybody sort of wants a big poetic and prophetic response, but there isn’t one really. The state of barbering in London is where it should be. It’s 2017, things are moving on, things are getting better. You know athletes are getting better, buildings getting bigger, barbering is getting better because there’s new tools coming out, there’s more interest in it. And social media has been a great big part of that and in London specifically I think as well because there are so many places coming up. And you know a lot of upcoming barbers. There are barbers that I know that have got 500 followers on Instagram and that have flashed the pants off me in the fade competition and you know I’m not too proud to say that.

LSB: What are your thoughts on teaching barbering?
HP: You never stop learning in this industry and anybody that says they’re a master barber, I hate that term, hate the term master barber.  I can’t stand this, who said you’re a master barber like, you’re not the master, you’re not the end boss of the video game right. You can never stop learning. Like I train people myself. I’ve got apprentices and they show me things every day, whether it’s, it might not be technical, but it may be something to do with the way they’ve approached something or the way they’ve problem solved something. Instead of me getting stressed and figuring it out this way, they will laugh and figure out a different way and then next time I will laugh and figure out that way and so on and so forth.

LSB: Tell us about judging the fade competition here today?
HP: What I’ve seen here today has been great. I’ve seen a very high level of talent and I’ve definitely been impressed by the gumption and the willingness to everyone I spoke to because I made sure I had a nice chat with everyone as I went round. And I just wanted to kind of ask them you know; what they thought of the course and you enjoying it and a couple of them I went up to and I was just like ‘you on this yeah?’ there a couple of the boys that I know I can talk to like a boy and they were like ‘yeah man this is it, like we love it’. And I remember when I was like that, you know I’ve got it written above my eyebrows – saved you know. It saved my life, I wouldn’t be where I was without barbering.

LSB: Tell us more about how barbering has changed your life?
HP: I know through barbering I found so much. I found out that I react to a lot of stuff sometimes and you know sometimes you just got to sit back and do your work and leave it at work when you get home. It’s great thing as well as my stress finish work go home it’s great. Barbering is a big part of my life and hopefully from what I’ve seen here today, it looks like you’ve got people from all over the country here today, all over the world sorry, and they’re equally as excited about going back and getting cracking on. So I think that’s a testament to the level of education that you’ve given them here.

LSB: What do you think about the student experience at LSB?
HP: I remember my experience being here. I remember the people coming in and I’ve been in 3 weeks, just started off the head blocks and got off the head blocks in the room and then you got the fresh batch coming in as we call them. And you know some of them have never held clippers or anything, they don’t even know what they are doing and they’re like ‘Eh, I’m not going to be able to do this, like it’s not going to happen’ and I’d say to them ‘you’re going to be able to do this’. Like they’re not here for no reason, this is what they do. I think people coming into who maybe daunted perhaps, thinking this is a completely different career I’m going into, I’m leaving something I’m comfortable in?, I do what a career change but is this the one?. I would say go for it. For me, it was absolute life changer and I know for other people it’s has been absolutely life-changing too. I can’t thank barbering enough and also LSB for giving me this push, giving me this opportunity that opened the doors for me to then go out and fly on my own.

LSB: Any final thoughts about your visit to LSB today?
HP: Yeah, I think today was more about coming, you know the competition is great judging, but it was more for me about coming in and just seeing it again and a bit nostalgia and also like I said seeing how far you’ve come and with the school and with the education you’re providing here as well.

If you want to learn how to become a barber, take a look at our barbering courses page to find the right beginner course to help you just do that.

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