Skills and Success
Student success at the UK Skills Competitions
TWO students from Stoke on Trent College are now going for gold after securing top slots at a national competition.
Andrea Gordon, aged 41, from Etruria, and Emma Hazlewood, aged 26, from Sneyd Green, both took first place in their categories at the WorldSkills UK regional competition held at Burton and South Derbyshire College.
WorldSkills UK is the name for the high quality skills competitions that are run annually throughout the UK. These competitions aim to encourage young people and adults across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to excel in their vocational skill area while raising participation, esteem and standards in apprenticeships and vocational training.
Now the pair have an anxious wait to see if they will be selected to go through to the prestigious finals held in November at the NEC in Birmingham, as only the top scoring students in all the regional heats across the country are selected.
For Andrea, it’s her last chance for a shot at gold at the finals, having made it through last year where she secured a silver medal in the Advanced Nail Art category.
“It was a bit crazy on the day, as when we got there we realised the rules had changed and everyone had already done one hand at home, but I still managed to do it all on the day so I did really well. The theme was Thriller, so I based it on the haunted mansion at Disney World in Florida where I went on holiday, using Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie who were half vampire, and my model was dressed up as Minnie, while the other hand I had gravestones, scary eyes, ghost shapes and the skeleton character out of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I had three-and-a-half hours to complete them and they were all made out of acrylic with crystal decorations on. I also spent a couple of weeks before the competition putting together a book which demonstrates how you developed your theme. I was very surprised when they said I’d won, especially as everyone had a head start, so fingers crossed I’ll go through to the finals now.”
Stoke on Trent College Tutor Rachel Lea, who teaches the pair, said both of them had worked really hard, while Emma’s win in the Intermediate Nail Extension category was amazing as it was her first competition.
“As a college we take part in the competitions because it gives our students a chance to pitch their skills against other students and it stretches and challenges their own skills. It’s something they can take away with them in addition to their qualification with which they can then approach an employer. Everyone knows what is involved in these competitions, so employers know they have someone who is dedicated and willing to go that extra step further. For Emma it has really boosted her confidence and self esteem and has meant a great deal to her, and it’s very prestigious just to get through to the finals. And it’s not just about doing the nails as it’s also all about the presentation, from the dress and posture of the therapist while working, they can’t have a hair out of place, to how they lay their products out and communicate with their model, so it’s really intense as they can lose marks on any of those areas.”
The College is now enrolling for September courses in Hair and Beauty, so anyone interested in finding out more should contact Stoke on Trent College as soon as possible on 01782 208208 and fill in an application form.