New national student hairdressing competition starts in January

A brand new nationwide competition for trainee hairdressers kicks off in January.

Missy Gainy, Kelly-Jane Whyte, Anna England, Chloe Harrington and Ronieelee Griffin from Weston College will join up to 840 other learners who will compete over six regional heats throughout England and Wales, starting today (13th January) at Petroc College in Tiverton, Devon.

The winners of each category will qualify for the Grand Final at the L’Oréal Professionnel Academy in London in March, where they will compete to be named the first ever Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year.

The events, organised by Concept Hair Magazine, will celebrate the UK’s best hairdressing and barbering students as they aim to achieve national recognition at the beginning of their careers.

Salon owners, training managers and college lecturers have entered students and apprentices into the competition, which is free to enter and is open to all trainee hairdressers above the age of 16.

There are incredible prizes up for grabs, including goody bags for everyone who enters and a variety of hair tools and training opportunities from the competition sponsors.

The series of live competitions will give apprentices the chance to show off their skills, creativity and flair across five distinct categories – styling, hair up, barbering, colouring and avant-garde.

Category themes include Peaky Blinders, The Great Gatsby, prom hair and ‘fire and ice’.

After the South West heat at Petroc, the competition continues at Coleg y Cymoedd in Wales (15th January), New College Durham (27th January), Hugh Baird College in Liverpool (29th January), Stephenson College in Leicestershire (29th January) and Bucks College Group in Aylesbury (12th February) before the final on 26th March.

Celia Matthews, Managing Director of Concept Hair Magazine, said: “We are so excited to launch the Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year competition and show what a fantastic career choice hairdressing is. We can’t wait to see what looks the competitors will come up with – it’s going to be fabulous!”

The competition is sponsored by L’Oréal, Cloud Nine, Wahl, Salons Direct, GE Betterton and the Fellowship for British Hairdressing.

Monica Teodoro, General Manager at L’Oréal, said: “With a brand heritage that spans over 100 years, we have continued to pioneer, support and shape the future of the hairdressing industry – and what better way than to focus on the next generation. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s hair professionals will bring.”

Jessica Wilkhu, Head of Brand & Marketing at Cloud Nine, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with Concept Hair to create a platform that supports and showcases the next generation of talented hairdressing professionals. Their fresh perspective will shape the future of the industry, and we’re so excited to see their creations during the competition.”

Jenna Ratcliffe, FE Curriculum Co-ordinator for Hair and Beauty, said: "We embrace competitions and encourage learners to take part to help build resilience and test themselves, so they are ready for employment. These young people are an inspiration to fellow learners, and we all wish them luck in the competition.”

Simon Shaw, Global Artistic Director at Wahl, said: “Education is a huge part of our global brand and we always aim to support the next generation. During the competition, we will be looking to see students who show strong foundational shapes, with a modern edge and strong finishes. I can’t wait to see what the competition brings.”

Ken Picton, President of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, said: “We are looking forward to seeing some outstanding, emerging talent. Creativity is at the heart of everything that the Fellowship does. Seeing hairdressing through young people’s eyes is always inspirational and competitions like this show the population what this amazing industry has to offer.”

For more information about the competition, head to

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