From Learner to Leader: Maria Hartill’s Success Story

Meet Maria Hartill, a Coleg y Cymoedd former learner, a current staff member, successful entrepreneur, and future beauty trainer.

Maria has a remarkable journey of learning, working, and leading in the beauty industry, and has shared her Coleg y Cymoedd journey with us this Women’s History Month.

When did your journey with Coleg y Cymoedd begin?

I started my journey with Coleg y Cymoedd 17 years ago, when I joined the Level 2 Beauty Therapy course at the former Coleg Morgannwg. I was drawn to the college by its welcoming, community atmosphere, and the enthusiasm and knowledge of the tutors. Since then, I’ve completed Level 3 Beauty, Reflexology Practitioner, and I’m now working towards becoming a teacher.

My learner experience was really empowering – I received the guidance and encouragement I needed to grow and achieve my goal of running my own beauty business.

A memorable moment for me was coming third place at the WorldSkills competition in Advanced Beauty Therapy, where we were tested in skills such as Faradic, Microdermabrasion and Swedish Massage.

This boosted my confidence to pursue my dream of owning my own beauty salon, and I admire how the college continues to offer these opportunities to young people, giving them the same priceless experiences.

Your dream came true! Tell us more about where you are now.

I have achieved my dream of opening my own beauty salon, Opulent Tranquillity Beauty by Maria, where I can pamper my loyal customers with a variety of treatments and products. I also work part-time as Learner and Campus Services Assistant at the Nantgarw campus, where I assist the Director of Campus and Head of Learner and Campus Services in providing a supportive and engaging environment for the students.

You truly are part of the Coleg y Cymoedd family, then! What do you love about it so much?

Being part of the Coleg y Cymoedd family is a joy for me, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to return and enhance my skills. The college shows its commitment to excellence by providing the most advanced tools and equipment for the learners, who can benefit from learning the latest trends and techniques in the beauty industry.

And you’re not done with learning and growing with us?

I have a vision of opening an add-on Training Academy, where I can share what I’ve learned and experienced with aspiring beauty therapists. I’m studying a PCeT (Professional Certificate in Education and Training) through Coleg y Cymoedd, and as part of that, I’m delivering sessions to Entry Level 3 Hair & Beauty Learners alongside my former tutors.

It’s been such a privilege to work with them. They’ve been with me through my whole journey and now they’re helping me mentor the next generation of beauty professionals and inspire them to follow their dreams, the same way that they did for me.

Maria is a shining example of how Coleg y Cymoedd can help learners achieve their goals and become leaders in their fields. We are proud of Maria and wish her all the best in her future endeavours. She’s a woman making history, and helping other women feel and achieve their best along the way!

Maria shows how education at Coleg y Cymoedd can transform lives, where learners get to follow their dreams and succeed in their jobs. We are lucky to have Maria with us and we hope she keeps growing and inspiring. She’s not just a pioneer in her field, but also a role model for women who want to reach their goals and support others to do the same.

Maria has been shortlisted for the Best Customer Experience award at the Welsh Hair and Beauty Awards 2024, following her second place Highly Commended recognition in the People’s Choice Award category last year. This is an amazing achievement for a salon that is run by one person, and it demonstrates Maria’s passion and skill. You can show your support for Maria by voting for Opulent Tranquillity Beauty by Maria, and the details are provided below. The deadline for voting is 1st May 2024:



Wellington Street
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF44 8EN


Heol y Coleg
Parc Nantgarw
CF15 7QY


Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF40 2TQ

Ystrad Mynach

Twyn Road
Ystrad Mynach
CF82 7XR

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