Courtney Rowland, a Painting and Decorating apprentice and Hairdressing student Sophie Roxborough have both secured places in the national finals following their wins at the regional competitions earlier this year.
WorldSkills UK is the nation’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event, bringing together learners from across the country to compete to be the best in their chosen field. Winners from the UK final are also given the chance to progress to the international competition as part of Team UK, which will be held in France in 2024.
Courtney and Sophie both impressed the judges at their respective regional heats earlier in the year, with Courtney joining construction students from across the North East at East Durham College in April, while Sophie competed at Newcastle College as it held the North East regional hairdressing competition in June.
After winning the regional heat, Sophie commented: “I was really anxious about competing, I almost dropped out because I wasn’t confident with cut and colour, but my tutor was really supportive and I’m proud of myself now for coming and making it through. I feel more confident in myself, and I’m also excited about competing in the final.”
Courtney and Sophie will now compete against other high scoring apprentices from across the UK at the national finals. The judges will ask students to expand on skills demonstrated in the regional heats and will be looking for technical precision and ability.
To prepare for the competition, Courtney and Sophie will be dedicated to fine tuning their skills over evenings and weekends, with the help of their employers and tutor. Courtney will be competing in Edinburgh and Sophie will fly to Belfast in November. Former apprentice and TV journalist Steph McGovern will be handing out medals to the finalists from her Packed Lunch studio on Friday 25 November.