UK finals hat-trick!

Staff and students at a Staffordshire college are celebrating after reaching the finals of a national competition in three categories.

Students, from a range of subject areas at Stoke on Trent College, will battle it out against finalists from across the UK at The Skills Show next month. The event, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from November 14th to 16th, is the single biggest showcase for vocational training, skills and careers in the UK.

Beauty students Andrea Gordon, Claire Williams and Emma Hazlewood; Chelsea Colclough from Interactive Media and Lee Buxton, who has recently completed his advanced apprenticeship in Bricklaying, will be  amongst the best of the UK’s young talent competing at the event. It comes following their success at regional heats staged earlier this year.

Sarah Robinson, Principal of Stoke on Trent College, said “We are thrilled the students are getting the chance to showcase their talents on a national platform at The Skills Show.

Events like this not only reflect the hard-work, talent and commitment of our student’s, but the expertise of our tutors who are dedicated to helping our students reach their full potential.

They did incredibly well at the regional heats of the competition to reach this stage and we are all very excited at the prospect of having national winners at Stoke on Trent College.

Everyone is wishing them the very best of luck and we will be there over the course of the event to support them.”

More than 70,000 people attended The Skills Show in 2012. It is the UK’s largest skills and careers event that aims to inspire and transform young people’s lives through a series of interactive events held across the UK, changing the way we think about skills, training and apprenticeships.

Last year, competitor Andrea Gordon from Etruria was awarded silver in the Advanced Nail Art category. This year, after securing her place in the finals again, she is going for gold.

Claire Williams from Bucknall will compete in the Intermediate Nail Art category, whilst Emma Hazlewood from Sneyd Green is hoping to win in the Intermediate Nail Extension category.

Twenty-two year old Chelsea Colclough, from Weston Coyney, secured her place after taking first place in the Advanced Web Development category during the regional heats earlier this year. Chelsea wowed judges after using her skills to update an old website to current standards and create a set of smart phone apps. The Level 3 Interactive Media student is now hoping to transfer this success on to the national stage.

Lee Buxton recently completed a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Bricklaying at Stoke on Trent College and now works for a local builder, Peter Fearns. Lee already triumphed at the West Nottinghamshire regional heat of SkillBuild and will compete against the other regional winners at the Skills Show. At the event he will be required to produce work based as accurately as possible from drawings that are unveiled at the start of the competition.

The Skills Show is the single biggest showcase for vocational training, skills and careers in the UK, from construction to forensic science, hospitality to engineering. Stoke on Trent College, as a member of the Premier Colleges sponsor group, will also be staging interactive have-a-go activities in website design, plumbing, renewable technology, theatrical makeup and nail art, at the event. It aims to generate interest and raise awareness among young people in the wide range of vocational occupations available to them.

Supported by the Skills Funding Agency and the European Social Fund as Funding Partners, The Skills Show is the largest event of its kind in the UK and highlights the vital importance of skills to economic growth in the UK. Theo Paphitis is the event’s Skills Patron and will be visiting the Show, along with a host of other famous names.

The finals will take place at the Birmingham’s NEC from Thursday, November 14th to Saturday, November 16th. The event is open to the trade and public. Visit for further details.

Anyone wishing to find out more about courses available at Stoke on Trent College can visit or call 01782 208208. Alternatively, text “Stoke” plus your message to 88020.

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