Hull College student Daniela Mikute has won gold at the WorldSkills UK National Finals - the country’s leading skills competition.
The 20-year-old Foundation Degree Advanced Beauty Therapy and Aesthetics student proved herself to be the best young nail technician in the UK when she took first place in the competition held at Trafford College on Thursday 16th November.
The competition focused on evaluating the role and tasks of a Nail Technician in a salon environment. Participants were tasked with demonstrating proficiency in various aspects, including nail care, nail technology, and nail art, adhering to both current and traditional standards and industry requirements.
Competing against seven talented peers from across the UK, Daniela showcased her exceptional skills, artistry and attention to detail in a series of manicure challenges, securing the prestigious gold medal. She emerged victorious ahead of Amy Martin from Trafford College and Summer Corcoran from Wigan and Leigh College, who secured the silver and bronze medals respectively.
The gold medal achievement is the latest milestone of Daniela’s time at Hull College having first started as a Level 2 Beauty Therapy student in September 2021. She went on to study Level 3 Advanced Nail Enhancements the following year, achieving a Distinction grade that saw her finish in the top 4% in the country and enabled her to make the step up to Higher Education.
Reflecting on her success, Daniela said: “I'm delighted to have won the gold medal and I'm so proud of what I've achieved! This past year has been an incredible journey for me. Competing in WorldSkills UK has been a challenging, emotional, and stressful but ultimately amazing experience! Winning the gold medal in WorldSkills UK has taught me that with enough hard work, I can achieve anything. It's been unforgettable!
“I have to say a huge thank you to my fantastic tutors Emma and Kerry Wray, who have both been a fantastic support network for me. They have supported, motivated and stood by me from day one. Most importantly though, they have both believed in me - even when I doubted myself. Their unwavering faith in my ability has allowed me to achieve my very best and I couldn't have reached this milestone without their support and guidance.
“On a final note, I would like to say thank you to WorldSkills UK for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills. To anyone who feels truly passionate about what they do, I would recommend taking part in a skills competition. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it is so worth it for the skills you develop and the confidence you gain.”
Kerry Wray, Assistant Head of Hospitality and Lifestyle at Hull College, expressed her pride in Daniela's achievement, and said: “Daniela's dedication and talent have shone through in all stages of the WorldSkills UK competition. She was competing against the very best in the country in her category but she maintained a positive focus on the tasks at hand and performed outstandingly well in the final.
“We practised many elements of the competition leading up to the event and we are absolutely delighted that she won gold. The whole college is very proud of Daniela and everything she has achieved. She embraced every single opportunity of being involved in the competition to the full and was a pleasure to work with from start to finish. Her success is not only a testament to her hard work but also reflects the high standard of education and training provided to all students at Hull College.”
The WorldSkills UK National competitions celebrate the best in young talent across various disciplines, from engineering and digital to creative, business, health, and hospitality. More than 6,000 talented young people participated in the WorldSkills UK Competitions this year, with only 442 making it to the finals.
The winners were announced following six months of local and regional qualifiers, culminating in five days of intense competition at the National Finals, held for the first time in colleges, training providers, and universities in Greater Manchester last week (14th - 17th November).
Ben Blackledge, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK, highlighted the significance of the competition, adding: “This is a life-changing moment for these young people. They are the new generation of high flyers that will give UK employers a competitive edge. Our finals not only celebrate the best in young talent, but also provide a vital opportunity to see how skill development in the UK stacks up both domestically and against our international neighbours.
“Skills will continue to be a key differentiator for business both at home and abroad. Through our programs, we are working to ensure that all apprentices and students across the UK can gain access to high-quality technical education and apprenticeships that lead to real success for them and the UK as a whole.”