Record skills success

Three more students have reached the national finals of prestigious industry competitions, making it a record year for a local college.

Natasha Bent, Kelly Deakes and Dario Hopley from Stoke on Trent College have all reached the WorldSkills UK Finals in their chosen discipline. It takes the total number of learners from Stoke on Trent College the competing in WorldSkills UK finals to 14, the most in the college’s competition history.

Each student will now take part in the WorldSKills UK Finals, which will be staged at the Birmingham NEC later this year as part of The Skills Show, an event that attracts more than 75,000 visitors.

Natasha Bent, 24, will compete in the Nail Enhancements category after fighting off stiff competition from other colleges across the West Midlands and winning Gold at a regional heat earlier this month. Classmate Kelly Deakes, 22, will also compete in the 3D Nail Art category after her design at regionals helped her claim a spot in the national finals.

Health and social care student Dario Hopley, 18, has also reached the finals after success in the regional heats, which saw him have to complete a series of health and social care tasks to the highest standard.

Natasha Bent, said: “The regionals took place at Walsall College and I was in the open nail services category, which required us to complete a sculpted set of acrylic nails.

“It felt such a relief and great pride to win. We had all been training for six months, putting a lot of hard-work and our own free time into training. To win felt like a big achievement and has gone down amazingly well, as I have recently started working in a very busy salon that love to promote my good news.

“It is a big achievement to know I have made it to the finals. I’m preparing for the event by working hard at work and coming into college as often as I can. I have been given the best support I could ever ask for by my tutors and other members of staff. They put so much effort into helping us and teaching us the best techniques to help us win.”

Gill Jones, Head of School for Hair, Beauty, Health and Social Care at Stoke on Trent College, said: “Taking part in regional and national competitions has become an integral part of many courses at the college and one we are incredibly proud of.

“It has helped inspire and raise aspirations among our learners and we plan to build on this success moving forward. Being involved helps them showcase their skills and get noticed by sector leaders.

“Success at WorldSkills UK competitions are recognised within each industry and having such a well sough after accolade can really spur the learners into the limelight within their chosen sector.

“We are very proud of the success of the students and will support them with their preparation for the finals whilst wishing them the very best of luck.”

Other areas of the college with finalists taking part in the WorldSkills UK Finals include games development, construction, painting and decorating, and forensic science.

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