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Hair and beauty professionals from all over the country met to share their expertise in training at a unique industry event at Uxbridge College.

The Hair and Beauty Conference on 4 December was attended by around 70 college lecturers and training experts.

The event was led by Uxbridge College in north west London, whose Principal, Laraine Smith, is the Association of Colleges's Hair and Beauty Sector Skills Champion. The group has been set up to promote excellence in training.

The guest speakers were Ofsted's National Adviser in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Phil Hatton, Alan Goldsbro CEO of Habia, Stephen Vickers CEO of the accrediting body VTCT, Nic Robinson, Director of Development at VTCT, Alex Lofthouse from Walsall College, and Maureen Mellor of Liverpool Community College.

Ms Smith said: "This is the first event of its kind and it is a real honour to have hosted it. Bringing together the colleges who train our future hairdressers and beauty therapists is an excellent way to help achieve excellence in the sector for many years to come. I hope our delegates will have been inspired by what they have learned from others - and also by having looked at what they do best and shared that too."

Mr Hatton said: "This event has given people a great chance to network and share best practice. There was a really good mix of colleges and it gave them all a chance to compare themselves against each other. Constantly promoting high skills levels is of key importance, because you want to make sure students are employable when they finish their courses. Getting people together to share what they do well helps support a culture of high standards across the whole sector. The examples of best practice showcased by some outstanding colleges were described as 'inspiring' by many of the delegates present and showed just what can be achieved in a college setting."

Mr Goldsbro from the industry skills sector council Habia said: "This is the first time in a long time we have had an opportunity like this to address so many colleges about best practice - and it doesn't need to stop here. Everyone who came to the conference can capitalize on it by taking home new ideas about how to be the best they can."

Discussions on best practice in skills training during the conference are expected to result in a leaflet which will be circulated to all LSC-funded providers.


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