gold medallist and East Sussex College alumni Kaiya Swain spoke to students studying Business & Service Industries about her journey from college student and the WorldSkills stage to where she is today.

The  College welcomed Beauty Therapist Kaiya to the Kings Restaurant at ESC Eastbourne on Tuesday (23 November). The award-winning alumni competed in the UKSkills competition during her time at college, making it to the WorldSkills Final in Abu Dhabi in 2017 and crowned the world’s best young Beauty Therapist. Kaiya shared her inspirational story with the current cohort of students studying the Business Service Industries.

“The four days of competition were tough,” Kaiya said, reflecting on her  time in Abu Dhabi. “ was up at 4.30am and sometimes didn’t finish competing until 10 at night. I then had to wait two days for the result. The closing ceremony was held in a huge stadium, with tens of thousands of people, including competitors, judges, spectators, training managers, and friends and family.”

Kaiya’s hard work and dedication to training paid off as she was announced gold medallist in Beauty Therapy, making her the world’s best young beauty therapist. 

“I had a lot of opportunities come from WorldSkills that I am so grateful for. There is always a chance to better yourself. I’d recommend the competition to any student.”

The talk was set up by Emma Hartup, Head of Curriculum for Business and Service industries at ESC. Emma also joined the innovation networking team with UK Skills in 2020, with the goal of East Sussex College becoming a Centre of Excellence in UK Skills. 

Emma adds, “This competition gives students a life-changing experience; they learn to persevere and build up resilience by stepping out of their comfort zones. I have always had a competitive nature  and want to inspire students to go for glory in skills competitions.” 

East Sussex College is introducing skills challenges in Hair & Beauty and Catering lessons, to find students to develop an ‘Eastbourne squad’ for 2022, to represent South East Colleges in the first stages of the UK Skills competition.

Kaiya’s alumni talk was attended by  Level 1, 2 & 3 Hairdressing, Level 2 Hair & Media Make-up, 

Level 2 Beauty, Level 3 Catering students and Catering apprentices.