Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

West Suffolk College make-up artistry students from Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill through to finals of Association of Hairdressers and Therapists skills competition





Two make-up artistry students have secured a place in the finals of a national skills competition.

Teenagers Harley Kirk and Edith Ellis both study on a level three make-up artistry course at West Suffolk College, based in Bury St Edmunds.

At the end of March, they went to Croydon in South London and took part in the regional heats of the Association of Hairdressers and Therapists (AHT) annual skills competition.

AHT annual skills competition finalists Harley and Edith with their teacher Gemma Squirrel (centre). Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group
AHT annual skills competition finalists Harley and Edith with their teacher Gemma Squirrel (centre). Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group

Both learners were placed first in their sections and will now travel to Blackpool on Saturday, May 18, for the finals.

Harley, 17, from Haverhill, said: “My theme was entitled ‘Seasons’ and the feedback in my heat from judges was fantastic. They said it was the best work they had ever seen. The fact that a professional said that was a real boost.”

Harley - who would like to eventually work on films in Hollywood with the likes of Margot Robbie - added: “The teachers invest in us so that we can become the best versions of ourselves. Winning this has given me confidence ahead of the finals.”

The winning look created by Harley that judges were blown away by. Picture: Supplied by Harley Kirk
The winning look created by Harley that judges were blown away by. Picture: Supplied by Harley Kirk
Edith with her model and the look that helped her win first prize in the regional heat of this AHT skills comp. Picture: Supplied by Edith Ellis
Edith with her model and the look that helped her win first prize in the regional heat of this AHT skills comp. Picture: Supplied by Edith Ellis

Edith, 18, from Bury St Edmunds, said: “I had to create a look for a magazine feature. I was first and competed against 12 others. We both won goodie bags and a medal. To win (in Blackpool) and gain national acclaim would be amazing.”

In terms of why Edith loves the industry, she added: “I like making people feel good about themselves.”

Gemma Squirrel, a team lead for hairdressing and barbering and also a make-up lecturer at West Suffolk College, said: “I’m over the moon for Harley and Edith. They put themselves out there when they are really busy with exams and they had excellent feedback.

“I think competitions are important as it gives students a chance to think about what it is like to work in the industry and by taking part it helps them get their names out there and promotes their work.

“Harley and Edith have worked amazingly hard for this and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Hair and beauty students will also be taking part in other competitions later in the year including WorldSkills, a series of events that supports young people across the world via competition based training.