Shrewsbury salon’s golden honour for its winning stylist

SHREWSBURY hairdressing salon boss is to award an Olympic-style gold medal to one of his apprentice stylists to mark her success in a prestigious competition.

Seventeen-year-old Lou Sumner, who is a trainee at the K2 salon in the town’s Darwin Shopping Centre, has just taken joint first place in an inter-college contest held as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

And to properly celebrate her victory delighted K2 owner Philip Minton plans to present her with an Olympic-style gold medal to go with her winner’s certificate.

Lou, who lives in the Springfield area of Shrewsbury, left Meole Brace Science College with half a dozen GCSEs. But there was only thing she ever wanted to do for a living and that was to become a hair stylist.

She made an early start on fulfilling her ambition when she began helping out at K2 on Saturdays. After doing that for a year, she was signed up as an apprentice after her potential was spotted by Vidal Sassoon-trained Philip Minton.

For the past two years Lou – her full name is Lucy but she shortened it to avoid confusion with another stylist with the same name – has been undergoing an intensive course of professional training organised by Wolverhampton College, working towards an NVQ Level Two hairdressing qualification.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, Wolverhampton took part in a series of inter-college competitions in different disciples with its five Black Country counterparts - Sandwell, Stourbridge, Dudley and Walsall.

Lou was hand-picked to represent her college in the hairdressing event held at its base in King Street, Wolverhampton.

Competitors not only had to come up with a perfectly coiffed hairstyle but were also required to choose the outfits their models should wear to produce an overall look.

Lou chose to turn the clock back to the early 1960s by fashioning an asymmetrical “beret” cut which topped off a typical outfit based on a spotted dress reminiscent of that swinging decade.

Her creation, which she had just one hour to complete, landed her joint first place and Lou said: “It is the first professional competition I have won. I am very pleased to have come joint first because the other stylists were all so good.

“I wanted to do a 1960s look for my model because it is very popular at the moment.

“I am proud to have done so well for myself and all the team at the K2 salon.”

She added: “I had always wanted to be a hairdresser and when I started on the apprenticeship with K2 and Mr Minton it was my dream come true.

“What I love so much about the job is talking to the clients and creating all the various styles. There’s something different every day and it’s never boring.

“As part of my training one of the tutors from Wolverhampton College has been coming into the salon every Thursday and it has all been very useful to me in my career.

“I want to stay in hairdressing and gradually build up my experience. I don’t know what the future holds but perhaps one day I might even open my own salon.”

Philip Minton, who at 64 has been in the hairdressing business for over 40 years, opened the K2 salon nine years ago.

He attaches great importance to the apprenticeship scheme and reckons he has helped to give hundreds of youngsters a start in the business through being part of it.

He said: “We are all very proud of Lou at the salon and I’m so delighted with her success in the competition that I have made up made own version of an Olympic gold medal, complete with ribbon, which I am going to present to her to go with her joint winner’s certificate.

“Creating an entire look for her model in the competition wasn’t easy but she handled it very well.

“She is a very good young stylist who is a credit to the salon and shows great promise for the future.”

John Langham, senior account manager for employer response and commercial delivery at Wolverhampton College, said: “The hairdressing competition was part of our contribution to National Apprenticeship Week and we selected Lou to represent us against the other four Black Country colleges.

“We chose her because she shows plenty of initiative and endeavour.

“Lou worked very hard on the day and came up with a really good result.”

Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “Lou has done very well, representing not just K2 but her home town as well.

“She’s a credit to the salon and to the excellent training programme that they have run for their apprentices for over 40 years.”

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Michael Michael

Severn Magazine and Love Shrewsbury Editor.

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