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Karen is a cut above with success in hairdressing competition

West Nottinghamshire College hairdressing student Karen Albrihgton has finished second in the World Skills regional competition
West Nottinghamshire College hairdressing student Karen Albrihgton has finished second in the World Skills regional competition

A hairdressing student from West Nottinghamshire College has finished second in regional competition – and could yet go through to the UK finals later this year.

Karen Albrighton, 54, who has been studying at the college for two years, finished runner-up at the World Skills regional competitions at Stamford College and is now waiting to see if she’ll be one of eight individuals to make it through to the UK finals in Birmingham in November.

Karen was challenged to put her skills into practice in three timed competitions.

The competition was open to any hairdresser with less than four years’ experience, with just 70 getting through to the regional competitions.

The first of her challenges was to create a long-hair fashion style within an hour which she admitted was a challenge as she’s not worked on too many long-hair styles.

However, her unusual textured creation, created with bubble wrap impressed the judges.

The second challenge was to create a men’s short commercial barbering cut and style, which she did on fellow student Lee Coupe.

Despite admitting the only man’s hair she’d ever worked on was her husband’s, Karen nevertheless said she felt very confident with it from the start.

The final challenge was to create a ladies’ commercial fashionable cut and colour from photographic inspiration.

Karen created a bob haircut and used a vivid red colour underneath the top layers of the hair.

Karen, who left a career in the civil service to pursue her hairdressing ambitions, said: “I’m just so passionate about learning – there’s always something new to learn and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my studies.

“I enjoy challenging and questioning everything I learn about.

“I’ll soon be going to New York to visit family and my ambition whilst I’m there is to get some hairdressing experience there.

“I’ll be doing lots of friends’ and family’s hair but also I’m going to venture to some salons in New Jersey to get some experience – I can’t wait.”

Nina Harrower, her tutor at the college, added: “Karen truly is an inspiration.

“She literally soaks up everything we’ve taught her, and is so passionate about refining her art and skills.

“She’s an amazing communicator – a must in this business, and we’re so very proud of all her achievements.

“We can’t wait for her to join us as the qualified, paid stylist in our college salons where I know she’ll continue to do well and inspire many more people who she meets.”