A trainee hairstylist from Uxbridge College has beaten others from all over the UK in a styling competition.
Mesrak Kaleab (20), was a winner in the national finals of the Association of Hairdressers and Therapists trainee competition, held in Blackpool on 5 March.
She came second in the Afro Caribbean hair section in the competition, which involved finalists from 52 colleges. Mesrak and two other hairdressing trainees from the College - Nana Akua Mills and Rattandeep Johl - had won through regional heats held in Bournemouth on 6 February.
Mesrak is in her first year of a City & Guilds Hairdressing NVQ Level 2, studying at the Hayes Community Campus.
She joined the NVQ course after a year doing ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) with Entry to Hairdressing at the College.
Mesrak said: "There were a lot of people in the competition and I was nervous - we had 30 minutes to do a style that can take up to two hours normally. But once I started working I forgot my nerves and just worked really hard. I feel very excited about being second and I am willing and able to do better next time. I plan to set up my own salon and also train and inspire other people to do what I do."
Mesrak, whose Level 2 course last year achieved a 92 per cent success rate, plans to enter more competitions in the future.
Sandra Vieira, Hairdressing Lecturer at Uxbridge College, said: "This is a well-deserved achievement for Mesrak who produces excellent work and is very motivated and professional. She is one of the many students who have thrived in the professional environment of our salons here at Hayes and I have no doubt she will go on to further successes."
Entry fees and travel expenses for the heats and finals were met by student fundraising, money raised at last year's Hairdressing and Beauty Annual Show, and by the College Enrichment programme.
* Call 01895 853666 for more information about low-cost hair and beauty treatments at the Hayes Community Campus, or to make an appointment.