Edinburgh College Prize Giving winner styles her way to the red carpet

An Edinburgh College hairdressing student is hoping to style her way to double success this weekend as she struts her stuff on the national stage in UK-wide hair and beauty competition.

Rachel Thomson, a first year SVQ Level 2 student at the college’s Milton Road Campus, has been chosen as a finalist in the Hair Council UK Student of the Year Awards 2018 in London. Her appearance at the final comes just after she was named Wella Student of the Year Award at the college’s Prize Giving awards for students.

Twenty five-year-old Rachel is the only student from a Scottish college to have reached the final in her category and will compete against seven students from across the UK at the Goldwell Academy in London on Sunday 10 June. She was chosen as a finalist by leading industry educators Andrew Barton, Patrick Cameron, and Jamie Stevens who decided her entry ranked among the top eight in the country.

Rachel’s task on the day is to perfect a red carpet look. Not only does Rachel have to complete the hair element, she must also ensure her model, classmate Rebecca Wells, looks the full part – applying make-up and identifying the perfect red carpet gown.

“It’s really exciting that I get to design the full look. Obviously for a hairdresser the hair element is my main focus but I’m determined to complete the full look and luckily I have an amazing model in Rebecca to help me make it happen”, said Rachel.

Jackie Steele, a lecturer in Hairdressing, said: “All of us in the Hairdressing department are very proud that Rachel has reached the finals of such a prestigious competition – it’s a huge accolade for both Rachel and for Edinburgh College.

“The fact Rachel is the only Scottish finalist speaks volumes about her commitment and ability as she has worked incredibly hard to get where she is today. I’m looking forward to supporting Rachel at the Goldwell Studios, where I’m sure her weeks of practice will pay off. “

Bonnyrigg-born Rachel started training at Edinburgh College in 2010 and took a study break to have her two children. However, she was determined to come back to college to get qualified in the profession that she loves.

Since returning Rachel has excelled and as a result will collect her award at the College’s Prize Giving Ceremony on Friday.

She said: “I was always going to come back to college and to have been given this award is really amazing. I learn alongside so many talented stylists every day at the college so to have been chosen for this award is really special.

“On top of that, I never would have been able to compete at competitions like this one and the AHT events we went to in Coatbridge and Blackpool without the college. Coming back was about more than just learning the job, it was about taking advantage of all the other opportunities that come with it and I’m determined to win at an event before I graduate in a few years’ time.

“After that, it’s my dream to be a qualified stylist and one day own my salon.”