Flair for Hair at World Skills
Here we see all the excitement and preparation that goes into competing at WorldSkills Australia. Most people can guess what a hairdresser does but they don’t know what’s involved in competing at a national competition.
There are 22 competitors in the Hairdressing category. The Chief Judge and hairdressing convenor have designed the tasks to meet the standards in line with international competition. Past Japan WorldSkills international competitors from France and Finland are joining the judging panel and are contributing hairstyles for the competitors to copy. They create a style, which is photographed and then the picture is sealed in a confidential enveloped, not even seen by the other judges and only released to the competitors on the day of competition.
There is one overall gold medallist for Sydney WorldSkills who must be under the age of 21 and must be under 22 by the time they compete at Calgary WorldSkillls in 2009. Hairdressers bring all their own tool kit including scissors, combs and brushes. The competition supplies perm papers, towels, work stations, clamps, trolleys, stools, making the whole competition space will look like a big salon.
In the lead up to the event the competitors have been asking questions via a Yahoo discussion group. On Thursday, the set up day, students are given an induction and a briefing of all the tasks for the competition by the judges. Competitors find their tools, which can be quite nerve-racking, finding the packages sent to the venue form their hometowns. The competitors can then set up their workstations just like an actual salon.
Jodi Cameron is 19 years old and is a fourth year Hairdressing Apprentice from Grafton, NSW. She will be fully qualified in January 2009 so she has achieved a lot after leaving school in Year 10.
Her salon has produced three WorldSkills competitors in six years and one National WorldSkills Gold Medallist who competed internationally - Natalie, one of Jodi’s trainers and her main motivator and inspiration.
Natalie knows the way to win a hairdressing competition, having trained Jodi for her winning regional qualifying round and The Northern Rivers Apprentice of the Year competition. Jodi really does attribute much of her success to the training she receives by Natalie at the Grafton salon.
As far back as Jodi can remember she wanted to be a hairdresser - her Mum even bought her a mannequin for her to practice her skills on! Jodi thinks that leaving school and working in the salon has made her mature a lot earlier. Her advice to people thinking about hairdressing is that “you have to really want it because, the first two years are the hardest because you’re a slave…you gotta really want to do it otherwise you just give up."
Eventually Jodi would like to teach at TAFE, which she can do after ten years of working in a salon. She is also interested in working on cruise ships is actually going on one for a holiday soon!