The LEADING WALES Awards 2013


Shirley Davis-Fox

Shirley Davis-Fox Category: Women in Leadership

Shirley set up ISA Training in 1998 and it is now Wales' largest hair and beauty training organisation delivering apprenticeships to 800+ learners and 400+ employers. Her drive and commitment to the industry through roles with the Hairdressing Council, HABIA and the Pan Wales Hair and Beauty Group ensures that the voice of this sector is recognised throughout Wales and beyond.  


From the outset Shirley was determined that ISA would not be just another training company churning out NVQs. Her aim is for every Level 3 qualified stylist in Wales to become State Registered with the Hairdressing Council, which was set up by an act of Parliament in 1964 to regulate the industry. Since 2009, 275 learners have been State Registered as a direct result of Shirley's campaign.

Shirley's ultimate aim is to bring about statutory regulation for all hairdressing businesses to regulate the industry and safeguard customers. She was determined to gain a place on the prestigious Hairdressing Council to influence policy in Wales and was appointed in 2011 as the only Welsh member.

ISA's culture based on Inspire, Succeed, Amaze, is particularly strong. She personally inducts every new member of staff. Her leadership has a balanced approach, managing targets and leading people in a defined way, after much reflection and consultation. Ideas abound, everyone is able to contribute to continuous improvement and growth.

The 2010 Public Sector Procurement Round 3 saw 96 Training Providers in Wales reduced to 24. Many providers joined consortia to give them a better chance of success. However, Shirley decided that ISA would go it alone and bid for the 2011-14 contract independently. Not only was ISA awarded a 3 year contract but also an increase in value of the contract.

She is well respected amongst her peers and she not only travels the country promoting registration in her road shows, but also registers her ISA Training Level 3 achievers herself, helping numbers on the State Register for hairdressers to grow.  Shirley's leadership and vision has been integral to ISA Training achieving IIP Gold -only 3% of IIP accredited companies in the UK have the Gold Standard.

Who inspires you?

My successor, Berni Tyler, the next MD of ISA Training. Barack Obama.

What is your top leadership tip?

Empower and inspire your team.

.Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues don't know.
I ran for the city of Southampton Cross Country team.

List three attributes that you consider important for good leadership.
Empowering; ability to make a difference; motivating.