A Coleg Sir Gâr apprentice hairdresser and an aspiring retail designer have proved they have world class talent following their selection to the WorldSkills UK Squad.
Ellie Hanley, 19 from Haverfordwest and Phoebe McLavy, 20 from Carmarthen, have been selected for Squad UK to train for a chance to represent Great Britain in Russia next year at WorldSkills, the globe’s biggest biennial skills competition.
Apprentice hairdresser Phoebe, who is employed by Morgan Edwards in Carmarthen has been successful in a range of regional and national competitions including WorldSkills UK Live, a competition final held every year at Birmingham NEC.
Edward Rees, owner at Morgan Edward has been supporting Phoebe through her competition journey and providing training within his salon. He said: “Two years ago Phoebe began her WorldSkills journey as a young, motivated but very inexperienced hairdresser.
“Through her hard work and dedication to her craft she has competed all over the country and won several awards along the way.
“Today she is a highly qualified and talented member of the UK Squad and as a salon we have committed time and energy into her development and now have an asset in Phoebe.
“I would urge other employers to guide their staff down this exciting career path.”
Phoebe McLavy added: “Competing and training has been an amazing experience which has taken me as far as Budapest and Italy for the EuroSkills training camp and locally, my employer and college are investing in additional training.
Ellie Hanley, who has been selected for Squad UK’s visual merchandising team is also familiar with competition success and has taken part in a range of regional and national events including WorldSkills UK Live in Birmingham where she won a silver medal in 2016. She said: “'Going to WorldSkills Live at the NEC was a truly incredible experience.
“Transforming a plain window booth into a fashion focused display with hundreds of onlookers was very scary and incredibly pressurising.
“I am overjoyed to have been selected for Squad UK and I cannot wait to get stuck into all the intense training over the next few months.”
The Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales (ISEiW) project is a Welsh Government funded initiative that encourages and supports all Welsh competitors taking part in WorldSkills competitions and offer support across the board, from regional Skills Competition Wales events to international level.
Paul Evans, pan-Wales coordinator for ISEiW said: “It’s a tough competition process but it’s highly supportive of competitors to ensure they are competing at world standard level.
“It’s also a highly competitive process which involves an intense training regime, supported by WorldSkills mentors, employers, training providers and colleges to ensure the very best are selected for Team UK to compete at WorldSkills.”
WorldSkills is the equivalent of the Olympics in skills and the 2017 Abu Dhabi event attracted 1,251 competitors from 59 countries which attraced more than 150,000 visitors.
Coleg Sir Gâr has a reputation for success in competing on a global level since 2009, representing areas including web design, carpentry, plastering and dry lining, restaurant services and hairdressing.
Pics, from left, Coleg Sir Gâr students Phoebe McLavy and Ellie Hanley who have been selected to compete in WorldSkills Squad UK.