Students are a cut above

Students from New College Durham are celebrating winning one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at the prestigious AHT (Association of Hairdressers and Therapists) regional competition at the Federation Brewery in Gateshead.

Among them was trainee barber, Adam Ors, who won first place for a Barbering Cut and Finish at the annual competition.  The 32-year-old former waiter from Turkey, has lived in the UK for two years and is re-training to become a barber. He is studying barbering part-time at New College Durham while working at Marmaris, a Turkish barbers shop in Durham City.  He said:

“This was my first competition and I was over the moon when I heard I had won.  I had 30 minutes to do a cut, style and finish.  It was a good experience and it has made me feel more confident. 

“I am very grateful to be able to have the opportunity to re-train:  Learning a new skill like barbering later in life is not something that I would have been able to do in Turkey.  I feel very lucky, and it shows that you should never give up trying.”

Adam nearly had to withdraw from the competition when his model dropped out, however, with minutes to spare, a male member of the audience agreed to volunteer for him.

All nine medal winning students from New College Durham will represent the North East in the AHT national final, to be held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool in March.  They include Level 2 Hair and Beauty students Louise Turpin, Michelle Hardwick, Claire Lodge, Jessica Skelton, Jade Atkinson and Jordana I’Annson who won silver in the Total Look Team Presentation category, with a Strictly Come Dancing theme.  The costumes for the team event were designed by Level 3 Art and Design students at New College Durham.  Level 2 Hair student Ellis Swan came third in the Ladies Commercial Cut and Blow, and Level 1 Hair student Joy Buttelzi came third in Face Painting Make-up.

The students faced tough competition from 12 other colleges including York College, The Academy Malton, Sunderland College, Redcar and Cleveland College, Northumberland College, Newcastle College, Middlesbrough College, Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, St Joseph’s Academy Hebburn, East Durham College, Derwentside College, and Bishop Auckland College.

The North East heat of the competition is co-ordinated by New College Durham’s Lead Practitioner in Hair and Beauty, and National AHT Chair, Lindsay Deswert.  She said: “The standard of work at the competition this year was extremely high once again. This prestigious competition is the biggest in the North East, and is an excellent opportunity for students from across the region to demonstrate the skills they have gained.  It also gives the students a real confidence boost and the experience of working under pressure.”

Second year music students from New College Durham entertained the audience while the competition was taking place.

Related information


Hairdressing Apprenticeships

Hairdressers are responsible for making people look their best. Excellent communication and creative skills are essential in this line of work.

Apprentices Hairdressing

Barbering Apprenticeships

This programme trains apprentices to cut and style the hair of men and boys.


Beauty Apprenticeships

Beauty therapists make clients look and feel amazing.  If you've got the right personality with good communication and social skills you will go far in this fast-paced industry.



A career in the beauty industry can take you anywhere in the world! If you like being your own boss you could also have your own business or go freelance.

FE Barbering 1


Can you cut it as a hairdresser and keep up with this fast-paced, fashion-led industry?