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A Nescot student and staff member has been chosen to take part in the national WorldSkills UK finals this month.

Katie Arnold completed her Level 3 Beauty qualification at the college in June, and has now started training as a teacher, both studying and doing her placement at Nescot.

She will compete in the Advanced Beauty Therapist category in Blackpool, and joins a team of six other Nescot students who are aiming for WorldSkills UK gold in two weeks’ time.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m really excited, but I’m nervous, too,” Katie said. “I’m confident with the treatments I’ll be giving, so I just have to stay calm under pressure and plan my timing.

“I’ve had a lot of support from the college, especially my tutors Andry and Amber. They’ve been helping me with the knowledge and technical skills, but also the broader things like client care.”

Katie entered WorldSkills UK in spring, initially sending images of her work and then travelling to Manchester in June to compete in the semi-finals immediately after recovering from Covid.

For the national finals Katie will have two hours to do a French manicure with nail art, body exfoliation and compression mask and a facial.

Katie, who studied Level 2 and Level 3 Beauty at Nescot, is now studying her Professional Certificate in Education and working as a teaching assistant at Nescot as well as being a beauty therapist.

“My goal is to teach Beauty Therapy here at Nescot,” she said. “This is an amazing college – I have loved studying here, and I want to inspire students the same way my tutors inspired me.”

Andry Waters, Beauty Team Manager at Nescot, said: “Katie works hard to meet her clients’ needs, and we’re confident she’ll show her exceptional skills as a beauty therapist at the finals.

“We’re delighted she’s continuing her learning journey at Nescot, and it’s a pleasure to have her in the classroom helping to support our beauty students.”

Katie is joining five other Nescot students at the WorldSkills UK finals, which are happening at colleges across the UK.

Hairdressing student Maria Khan is travelling to Belfast, where she will take part in eight tests including commercial cutting, creative styling, and complex colouring techniques.

Maria, who is 40 and speaks three languages fluently, has set up and runs a hair and beauty salon in Islamabad, which is so successful she has just tripled the size of the floorspace.

“I am going to WorldSkills UK for gold, nothing less,” she said. “I’ve only just started my Level 3 qualification, so I’m a year behind most of the other competitors, but I won’t let that hold me back.”

In Creative Media, tutor Jess and Curriculum and Standards Coordinator Abi, both former Nescot students and WorldSkills UK silver medallists, are working hard to support their team of students.

Second-year Level 3 students Elodie, Kaiya, Adam and Ruben have just finished a college project to make and broadcast a 20-minute television show, which they said has been ‘invaluable’.

“It was quite a hard project, and it didn’t go exactly as planned, but I learnt a lot from it,” said Kaiya, who was the producer for her team.

“It was a complicated brief and a short timescale, and we had to bring a lot of elements together, like pre-recording VTs as well as managing a live television set.

“Our tutors have shown us how we can learn from all the different parts of the project, like working under pressure and thinking on our feet, and that will be really useful for WorldSkills UK.”

WorldSkills UK is known as the ‘skills Olympics’, and this year it will feature more than 500 finalists competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in 62 disciplines.

Nescot has a strong history of success in WorldSkills, and previous students have gone on to take part in international competitions too.