A 21 year-old from Pontypridd has won the Skills Competition Wales final in hairdressing - advanced level, as part of a Welsh Government-backed initiative to boost skills levels across Wales.
Christopher Miller, from Coleg y Cymoedd, competed against 19 other students from across Wales. The finalists had to complete a cut, colour and blow dry within a three hour time period.
Christopher, who is studying an NVQ Level 3 in Hairdressing and also works at La Chop hair salon in Pontypridd, said: “On the day I chose a fire red ‘crazy colour’ for the top section and a dark violet colour for the bottom section of the mannequin.
“The judges were looking for a slick sharp finish on the colour and a well styled cut and blow dry. I was the first competitor to finish, completing all tasks within two hours andI thought I wouldn’t be placed at all, so I was really shocked to hear them announce my name.
“In the future I would like to travel the world working as a hairdresser developing my skills and earning money as I go. My dream would then be to come back to Wales and open my own barber shop.”
Skills Competition Wales is designed to promote the importance of vocational skills and developing a highly-skilled workforce with the aim of boosting the overall skill level and prosperity of Wales.
Supported by the European Social Fund, the Welsh Government is funding a total of 32 Skills Competitions in 2015 in a range of sectors, from construction and car mechanics to patisserie and nail art.
Christopher will now go forward to represent Coleg y Cymoedd in the WorldSkills UK Hairdressing competition with the aim of representing Team Wales at this year's Skills Show in Birmingham in November.
This year, competitors representing Squad UK are in the running to travel to São Paulo. The competition takes place every two years in cities across the globe and is the largest international skills competition in the world.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James AM said:
“Having a highly skilled workforce is essential for the future of our country. It’s important to highlight the value of practical vocational skills that can be applied to our thriving industries in Wales.
“Skills Competition Wales aims to encourage young people and adults to develop their talents to the highest possible level and the healthy competition will set a benchmark for skills.
“Dozens of colleges, Sector Skills Councils and work-based learning providers across Wales are already involved in the initiative but we’re keen to see more Welsh businesses encouraging their talented young employees to enter.”
The Deputy Minister added: “It takes hard work, sheer determination and a lot of skill to compete against Wales’ most talented apprentices and learners, so their achievements should be commended and celebrated.
“We wish Christopher and all the other finalists and winners the very best of luck in the careers they go on to pursue.”
On 16th April, Coleg y Cymoedd will host an Advice Day. The Advice Day will run from 4pm to 7pm and will provide an opportunity for prospective learners and their families to explore the college’s facilities and learn more about available courses.