18 July 2018

The next item on hairdressing student Karen Albrighton’s shopping list should be a trophy cabinet, as the West Nottinghamshire College student has recently seen more award success.

Karen, 54, from, South Normanton, came second in the World Skills regional competitions in hairdressing, held at Stamford College.

She’s now waiting on judges to decide if she’ll make it through to the UK finals at Birmingham’s NEC in November – and only eight individuals will get through.

Karen was challenged to put her skills into practice in three timed competitions at Stamford College on 4 July. The competition was open to any hairdresser with less than four years’ experience, with just 70 getting through to the regional competitions.

The first of her challenges was to create a long-hair fashion style within an hour which she admits was a challenge as she’s not worked on too many long-hair styles. However, her unusual textured creation, created with bubble wrap impressed the judges.

The second part of the day’s competition was to create a men’s short commercial barbering cut and style. Karen created this look on fellow student Lee Coupe who was her live model. Admitting she’s only worked on men’s hair on her husband, she felt “very confident with it from the start.”

The third and final task was to create a ladies’ commercial fashionable cut and colour from photographic inspiration. Karen created a bob haircut and used a vivid red colour underneath the top layers of the hair. She purposely placed the colour on the underneath to create a discrete pop of colour as the breeze passed through the style.

In addition to her regional competition success, Karen has a whole range of successes which she is proud yet humble about over the two years she has studied at West Nottinghamshire College.

In the first year of her hairdressing studies she was successful in representing the college in the Francesco Spotlight competitions and also came second in the World Skills blow-drying competition for the East Midlands and through to the regional World Skills cut and colour competition.

Karen also achieved 100% attendance in both academic years. She has also been a mentor to Level 1 students on a one-to-one basis. She’s achieved overall distinction grades for her Level 2 and distinction star for her Level 3 course.

On top of this success Karen has also managed to achieve over 114 hours of volunteering which consists of the mentoring and working in the college’s commercial salon on Saturdays.

Karen, who left a career in the civil service to pursue her hairdressing ambitions, said: “I’m just so passionate about learning – there’s always something new to learn and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my studies. I enjoy challenging and questioning everything I learn about.

“I’ll soon be going to New York to visit family and my ambition whilst I’m there is to get some hairdressing experience there. I’ll be doing lots of friends’ and family’s hair but also I’m going to venture to some salons in New Jersey to get some experience. I can’t wait.”

Tutor Nina Harrower said: “Karen truly is an inspiration. She literally soaks up everything we’ve taught her, and is so passionate about refining her art and skills. She’s an amazing communicator – a must in this business, and we’re so very proud of all her achievements.

“In the new academic year we can’t wait for her to join us as the qualified, paid stylist in our college salons where I know she’ll continue to do well and inspire many more people who she meets.”

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