WorldSkills Hairdressing National Competition Winners!

Hamilton apprentice Jenny Eastwood from Morph Hair took out the Gold Medal for hairdressing in the WorldSkills National Competition over the weekend. Up against nine other competitors from across the country, 20-year-old Jenny completed six sections over two intensive days to become the overall winner.

She was also the top-scoring apprentice for the Waikato region. "When they announced I was the winner, my first thought was that they had made a mistake. Then I just felt overwhelming joy and I burst into tears!” she said. WorldSkills is a demanding competition and Jenny put in many hours of her own time to train.

"I haven’t had a weekend since I entered the regional competition…I have stayed late after work or come early every day. It’s a huge undertaking,” she said. "After so many months and hours of training, to win was absolutely unreal…it’s the best feeling ever.”

Coming in a close second place was Ashlee Van Wijk from True Grit Hair Spa in Christchurch. She was awarded the Silver Medal and also named the top-scoring apprentice for the Canterbury region.

The Bronze Medal went to Nadine Gratton from Ursula Harris Hair Design in Nelson. Nadine is also the 2013 HITO Apprentice of the Year for her region.

Erica Cumming, CEO of the New Zealand Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO), was impressed by the standard of work shown by the hairdressing competitors. "The competition was tight and the skills displayed were inspirational to all who were there,” she said.

Hosted by Waikato Institute of Technology on the 4 – 5 July, WorldSkills is a competition for young people from across New Zealand. Hairdressing was one of 18 industry categories to compete over the weekend, with others including engineering, automotive, hospitality and carpentry.

The winners from all categories will now prepare to compete at the Oceania WorldSkills Competition in April 2015, before potential selection for the WorldSkills New Zealand "Tool Blacks” team.

The Tool Blacks will head to Brazil in August 2015 to compete in the International WorldSkills Competition. HITO will continue to support Jenny, Ashlee and Nadine as they train for the Oceania Competition.

Special thanks to Pivot Point, L’Oreal, Redken, Wella, Schwarzkopf and Goldwell for generously sponsoring the event. Thanks also to WorldSkills Expert Niq James for donating his time and expertise to the competition both over the weekend and in the lead up.