Kaiya Swain wins Gold in the WorldSkills Finals

Sussex Downs College celebrates as Beauty Therapy alumni Kaiya Swain wins Gold in the WorldSkills Finals in Abu Dhabi

The UK struck gold in the desert at the WorldSkills Finals (known as the ‘skills Olympics’) in Abu Dhabi this week.  Sussex Downs College alumna Kaiya Swain, 22, from Stone Cross, was voted the world’s best young beauty therapist, receiving the gold medal in the WorldSkills Final in a dazzling awards ceremony on Thursday 19th October. She also received a second gold medal for ‘Best of the Nation’, having scooped the highest marks out of the entire UK team.

Kaiya, who trained at Sussex Downs College, and now works at Kaiya Rose Beauty, said: “It was an absolute honour to represent my country. This is a dream come true, I never expected to come out on top.”

Kaiya’s success follows three years of intensive training with the College, which saw her advance through regional heats and a national final, before being selected for Team UK in April this year.  Kaiya came to Sussex Downs College in 2011, studying Hair and Beauty alongside Theatrical Make-up. 

Talking about her training earlier this year, Kaiya said: “I live and breathe WorldSkills. Fifty per cent is your mindset in these competitions. I am so proud of making it into Team UK. This competition has bettered me as a therapist, making me more employable and setting me a bar above the standard therapist. I believe that through hard work and determination there is nothing that you can’t achieve in the beauty industry.”

Mike Hopkins, Principal & Chief Executive of Sussex Downs College, praised Kaiya’s success in Abu Dhabi, saying, “Here at Sussex Downs we are in awe of Kaiya’s achievement. With the support of great staff at Sussex Downs, she has become the best in her profession and craft in the world! That is fantastic and will be with her forever. On behalf of the Board, the staff and all students at Sussex Downs, I send our heartfelt best wishes and congratulations.” 

Linda Collison, Programme Manager for Hair, Beauty & Complementary Therapies at the College, says, “The profile of the competition has raised significantly because of Kaiya and we have more Beauty Therapy and Hairdressing students than ever before dedicating their time to the competition.  Kaiya returns to the College to train our current learners in the competition, which is fantastic. We already have another learner who is following Kaiya’s example and hopes to compete in the WorldSkills Final in Russia, 2019. The spotlight has never been so firmly on the competition and the beauty industry here in East Sussex. It’s an exciting time.”

Team UK triumphed in the WorldSkills Finals, picking up no less than 20 medals: one gold, three silver, three bronze and 13 medallions of excellence at a spectacular closing ceremony in front of 15,000 people and the world’s media at the Du Arena in Abu Dhabi (Thursday 19th October).

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