Best nails in Wales and the North West

Stockport College has won best nail work in the North West and in Wales in the qualifying heats of WorldSkills inter-college competition - thanks to top tuition from a UK industry expert.

Level 3 Nail Services students Alison Leech and Laura Wilkinson came first and second, respectively, in the North West regional heat of the WorldSkills contest at Rotherham College on Tuesday 11th June. It is the second year Stockport College has come first in the North West.

Level 2 Nail Services Joely McGahey topped the bill and Aaliyah Hamblet got second place in the Wales heat at Coleg Cambria on Wednesday 12th June. Joely and Aaliyah took part in the contest a day later than the other students because they were taking their GCSE exams.

The students were challenged to create the best full set of pink and white nails on one hand and full set of commercial nail art on the other. Alison won best in the North West for her nude, gold, white and blue design, which incorporated acrylic embedding, lines, dots and even a 3D flower while Joely wowed in Wales with her fishnet, glitter, marble, patch and 3D bow.

Alison from Woodley said: “I didn’t expect to win at all, I was just so happy with the set. I really enjoyed doing it. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and wanted everything to look right.”

Alison juggles working for herself under the brand Ally’s Nails in Kirsty’s Nails Boutique on Compstall Road, Romiley with College, where she is refreshing her skills, and raising two young children. She aims to continue studying beauty at Stockport College next academic year with the view to eventually go into teaching the subject.

Joely works at her mum’s salon Bijou Hair Studio on Hall Street in Offerton and plans to go on to study Level 3 Nails with Stockport College this September.

Joely from Stockport said: “With all that Jacqui does, she is definitely one of the best tutors in the country. I was really pleased with my French nails, but I didn’t think I was going to win.” 

Lecturer Jacqui O’Sullivan, said: “I’m extremely proud of all the students who took part. They did well due to their attention to detail, cleanliness, crispness and straight lines.”

Jacqui started teaching after running her own nail salon. As well as judging several national nail competitions, including World Skills, she now manages a nail business targeting the education sector, acts as an examiner for City and Guilds and contributes to teaching resources as well as nail publications. She has been working at Stockport College for three years in addition to work history at Trafford College for the previous 10 years.

Alison said: “Jacqui is a fantastic teacher. She is an inspiration. Her courses are brilliant. I didn’t want mine to come to an end, which is another reason why I’m back next year.”

WorldSkills champions the vocational sector and organises competitions to recognise talent among students and apprentices that take place regionally, nationally then internationally.