Hayley grew up in Bridgwater Somerset and completed her two-year level two and three beauty apprenticeship at Weston College (Weston Super Mare) Somerset. She went on to compete in Beauty Therapy at WorldSkills London 2011.
Hayley learned about WorldSkills UK Competitions straight from ‘the horse’s mouth’. “One of my tutors had competed and been in Squad UK. She suggested putting me forward saying I should do the regional heats. I thought I’d wait until level three of my apprenticeship but my mum said, ‘why are you not doing it now?’ I didn’t think I’d get anything, I was really nervous, but I ended up winning Gold.
Asked what her favourite part of her experience leading up to WorldSkills London 2011, Hayley finds it hard to limit herself to one choice. “I really enjoyed the training and meeting people. A really fun part was going into schools as part of the ‘One School’ careers advice programme. We were treated like celebrities. We got to talk to people about our jobs, about being in competitions. It was amazing, but what was even more amazing were the reactions of the students. Something we do that we think of as just a normal day, they were so impressed by.
“The best thing was that everyone supported us. You feel amazing, everyone supports you, but then the expectation of that support was scarier. I found it hardest when I didn’t get placed but I was just glad to get the Medallion of Excellence showing I’d reached international standards.”
There are lots of lessons to learn through competing, both technically and personally and for Hayley this was about self-belief. “To know you can expect so much more of yourself is a strong motivator. Self-belief was what training managers used to go on about saying, “you should believe in yourself now you’ve been picked to represent the UK.” I’ve taught a lot since WorldSkills and self-belief is one of the things I try and instil into others. If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Since competing at WorldSkills London, life has been “a whirlwind” much of which Hayley puts down as a result of taking part in the competition. “I was contacted by my ex-tutor about a position as an assessor for their practical skills programme. From there I did my teaching degree and taught on the apprenticeship side.
I wouldn’t have been able to get there without WorldSkills. Everyone thought I was too young to teach but actually I had a student win a Bronze in the National Finals and another one get placed into Squad UK.”
Her developing profession as a teacher also took her abroad. “I was the workshop supervisor in Germany for beauty skills and spent three weeks doing all the competition planning. It was quite fun seeing the other side of the competition. I’d also worked on judging at the Nationals.”
As if life were not busy enough, Hayley and her husband decided to start a family, but that hasn’t stopped Hayley’s career development plans. “When I had my children, I delayed my career slightly, now my son is at nursery, I’ve opened my own salon and my own beauty academy. A lot has happened in the 10 years!”
It’s the variety of Hayley’s professional career that inspires her to keep going:
I’ve got my teaching degree, I love teaching, I love my job and I love beauty, but I love most the inspiration of others. I think that’s probably why having the academy resonates with going into schools and seeing students interact with what we did at WorldSkills London. I love teaching beauty skills and seeing the students do better and watching them grow.
She feels strongly that technical skills are just part of what you need to be a good beauty therapist. “If you haven’t got passion there’s no point you being here. I can teach you every skill, but I can’t teach passion and drive. Also, attention to detail. I earned that from WorldSkills when judges’ marks are in fractions of a point.”
Hayley feels that taking part in WorldSkills London 2011 is the foundation for her career success. “I feel like I had so much training packed into two years that I’m really lucky to have these skills and I just want to pass them on. With the academy I run accredited day courses so they can train in beauty therapy.”
Hayley doesn’t see what she feels so excited about, as ‘work’. “I’ve got such a passion for it. You’re always learning new things, I’ve always loved training. It’s also about making people feel great. It’s when someone comes in to have their nails done because they’ve got a new dress or someone who comes in for a spray tan because they feel rubbish about going on holiday because they haven’t lost that body weight. It’s the confidence and happiness you give people.”
Having a vision is something that Hayley feels is absolutely essential for success in any field. “Believe in yourself and the sky’s the limit. I never thought I’d get as far as I did. I remember going to a selection event and hearing a presenter’s story and thinking ‘wow’ I could never do that, and then I did it. Never think a dream is unachievable.”
Hayley still holds her dreams dear saying, “I want to build on everything. I can’t sit still too long. I want my academy to succeed. I want to give my students all the skills, all the confidence, everything I was blessed with. I want to inspire. I had mentors and training managers, now I want to be that person. I have a vision of working with the beauty community to raise standards.”