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From mood boards to catwalk: Armagh students compete at WorldSkills UK L’Oreal qualifiers

SRC students attending the National Qualifiers were Gracie Lavery, Hollie McCann, Antonia Mallen, Tamsin Wilson, Geri-Leigh Wallace

Five talented Armagh students from the Southern Regional College took centre stage at the WorldSkills UK L’Oreal national qualifiers in the City of Liverpool College last Tuesday.

Students were all vying for a chance to secure one of eight coveted spots in November’s national finals.

With remaining qualifiers underway, anticipation is building to see whether SRC’s students will be announced as finalists in July.

Participating in WorldSkills UK competitions offers students valuable opportunities to enhance their skills which broadens their career opportunities beyond traditional hair salons.

Careers can include colour, cutting or styling specialists, film, and TV stylists or even careers in education and sales.

As part of the competition activity students completed a set of arduous tasks, including a pre-competition task consisting of photographic entry of a modern commercial long wave hair style for pre-assessment and marking, prior to attending the Liverpool qualifiers.

Results from this test made up 10% of the students’ final mark. Richard Howell from Loreal Professional Education stated the “standards from this test were so high, they raised the bar for those who made it that far”.

The remaining 90% of the students’ marks consisted of two on the day tests.

The first test on the day was an editorial catwalk design for ladies with long hair.

To complete this task students were required to produce an inspirational mood board demonstrating how the final look was inspired. Hairstyles were judged on styling and finishing skills, and appropriate use of styling products and referenced back to mood boards.

Explaining where editorial design inspiration was taken from, Caroline O’Neill, Hairdressing and Barbering tutor – and competition mentor – at Southern Regional College commented: “Inspiration usually comes from the catwalk and the predicted seasons trends or colour palette which is forecast by the top fashion houses like Dior and Chanel. The students had to create mood boards to illustrate where their inspiration came from, and the judges looked at these while marking their long hair style.”

The second test consisted of a ladies commercial cut, colour and style within a pressurised three-hour time limit. While styling and finishing skills remained a core part of the marks, students were judged on sustainability and health and safety issues with points deducted for any excess amounts of colour remaining in bowls.

Caroline added: “Despite what is a very pressurised setting, students exceeded expectations performing to a very high standard.

“It isn’t easy to work outside the comfort zone of the College’s setting. We as tutors can only guide and direct students. Ultimately students must go onto the competition arena and perform for themselves which they truly did, leaving us all so proud.

“I place great value on the experience gained from students entering these competitions and the exposure it can offer them to profile their career within their chosen industry. Some of the top industry icons have trained at SRC, so it is an amazing opportunity for students to excel and grow within the competitive world of work that exists today. We eagerly await the announcement of July’s finalists.”

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