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Phoebe McLavy

Name: Phoebe McLavy
Skill: Hairdressing
Employer: Reds Hair Salon
Training provider: Coleg Sir Gar 

Phoebe struggled badly with dyslexia at school, which led her to choosing a technical career route and doing a hairdressing apprenticeship. “I really didn’t like school; I didn’t like sitting in a classroom. The reason I chose an apprenticeship was because I would be doing hands-on learning. I always knew that I wanted to go into hairdressing, it was always something that I’ve loved doing.”

She first heard about WorldSkills UK Competitions at college when her tutor recommended she enter the Hairdressing competition. It proved to be the right decision as she went on to win the Bronze Medal at the National Finals in 2017 at the NEC Birmingham. 

She was then selected to be part of Team UK for WorldSkills Kazan 2019, where she competed against the best young hairdressers from around the world at the ‘skills Olympics’. She went on to scoop the Bronze Medal, demonstrating world-class standards of excellence in her skill.

Phoebe celebrating at WorldSkills Kazan

Her WorldSkills UK experience so far has given Phoebe valuable technical and personal skills to help her succeed in her career. “The confidence it’s given me as a person and the knowledge that I’ve learnt so quickly is amazing. I’ve learnt a lot of the higher standard techniques, that people wouldn’t experience unless they pay for a course. A lot of high-end stuff I’m now able to do at a young age.”

After competing on the world stage in Russia, Phoebe was delighted to make it back into the current Squad UK, “it was a really nice feeling as I thought my journey was over. It was a nice pick me up to know that it’s not quite over yet.”

One of her favourite parts of the experience this time around has been helping her other Squad UK members, “it’s been nice to show the other Squad members how to do something and to help, as well as learning myself. I feel excited as I’m more confident than when I first started.”

When she found out she’d made onto Team UK for EuroSkills Graz 2020, Phoebe was over the moon. “To know that I’m going to be part of this journey again is really amazing.”

She’s now looking forward to building her skills to even higher standards, “I hope my skills will develop even further. It’s new skills, a different country, different tests. I’m looking forward to building on the skills I already have to make me an even better hairdresser.”

Looking to the future, Phoebe as her sights set high and would like to “do hair around the world and maybe one day have my own salon.”

Phoebe’s message for anyone thinking of entering a WorldSkills UK Competition is: “go for it, it’s amazing. It’s a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget about.”