When it comes to giving people a style makeover, a Carmarthenshire teenager has proved that she’s a class apart.
Morgan Rennie, 19, from Llansteffan, has struck gold in the prestigious EU-backed Skills Competition Wales finals for both hairdressing and nail technology – the first student ever to win in two separate categories.
Both finals were held at Coleg Sir Gar, where Morgan is studying, and saw her battle it out with top nail care and hairdressing trainees from across the country to be named best up-and-coming practitioners in Wales in their chosen skills.
The talented youngster stole the show by delightedly accepting first prize in nail technology, before taking gold in hairdressing minutes later too.
She said: “My mum and dad were a bit sceptical about my choice of course at first but now they are beginning to see that beauty was the right option for me. I’ve always been interested in hair, and used to get my friends to let me cut or dye theirs from a young age, as well as changing my own a lot. Now my mum wants me to do her hair all the time and her perception is really beginning to change.”
Morgan plans to build on her success by moving to Cardiff when her studies finish in a few months’ time, and take up an apprenticeship which she hopes will put her on the path to ultimately owning her own hair and nail salon.
She said: “I think taking part in these competitions, where students get to meet judges who have made a career in industries like nail art and hairdressing, have helped people realise that you can be serious about it as a profession.
“That’s why I was genuinely shocked when they called my name out, especially the second time. The talent was like nothing I’ve seen, so to come away a double winner is just the icing on the cake for me.”
Backed by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, the annual Skills Competition Wales events are designed to showcase excellence in vocational learning and promote the importance of developing a highly skilled workforce.
Runners up in the hairdressing final were Ryan Beck, 17, from Gorseinon, also studying at Coleg Sir Gar, who took silver and Alfie Woodcock, 18, a Coleg Menai student from Conwy who took bronze.
Runners up in nail technology were Sophie Strawbridge, 18, from Bridgend, who took silver and Kate Armstrong, 18, from Pembrokeshire, who took bronze.
Skills Competition Wales aims to find the country’s most talented trainees across a wide range of skills, including fields such as catering, automotive engineering, aerospace, construction skills, catering, accountancy, media, and information technology.
Colleges, Sector Skills Councils and training providers host competition finals across Wales offering star learners the chance to test, benchmark and raise their skills levels.
Morgan and the winners of all-Wales finals in other skills may have the chance to progress to WorldSkills UK finals and possibly even to the WorldSkills International event at Rio de Janeiro in 2015.
Jeff Cuthbert, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, congratulated the successful contestants at Coleg Sir Gar. He said: “These competitions are an excellent opportunity for up-and-coming skilled workers in Wales to stretch themselves and really develop their abilities within their chosen fields. These competitions cover many important sectors of the economy and we aim to encourage young people entering these occupations to benchmark their skills against others in Wales, the UK or indeed internationally.”
For more information about Skills Competition Wales and WorldSkills UK please visit www.worldskillsuk.org/wales