Four stylish young stylists from Durham have styled their way into the finals of a national
student hairdressing competition, Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year 2020. The event took place at New College Durham on 27th January.

Niamh Thompson and Samantha Twist, who both attend New College Durham, were
winners in the Styling Level 1 and Hair Up Level 2 categories respectively.

Samantha Twist
Niamh Thompson

Rayna Kovacheva and Neive Huntington, who were representing East Durham College, won the Styling Level 2 and Colouring competitions.

Rayna Kovacheva
Neive Huntington

All four go on to compete at the Grand Final of Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year 2020, which takes place at the L’Oréal Professionnel Academy in London on 26th March.

Niamh Thompson said: “All of my tutors have helped me a lot, giving me inspiration and
helping me to use Instagram. I’m so happy.”

Rayna Kovacheva created a 1920s look and said she’d been inspired after watching movies
from the era and looking at pictures with her teacher.

Samantha Twist, who won for her interpretation of ‘prom hair’, said she’d created a similar
look in previous competitions.

Neive Huntington, the Colouring winner, said creating the winning look had been a process
of trial and error and that she was “absolutely buzzing” to have reached the final.
British Hairdresser of the Year Robert Eaton, who helped judge the North East heat, said:
“Being part of this event and seeing so much new talent is amazing. My advice to anybody new to the industry is just to watch as many different hairdressers as you can.
With social media and the opportunities that are around now, there’s never been a better
time to learn.”

Being cool isn’t easy

Emily Hilton, Concept Hair Event Manager, said: “We’re so happy to have hosted the North
East heat of Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year 2020 in Durham. New College Durham was a fantastic host and we were blown away by the quality of work on show. Congratulations to all of our winners from the day – we can’t wait to see them all again at
the Grand Final.”

List of Winners from the North East Heat

  • Styling L1 winner: Niamh Thompson, New College Durham (Runner-up Ellie Melvin, New
    College Durham)
  • Styling L2 winner: Rayna Kovacheva, East Durham College (Runner-up Katie Wilkinson, Hull College)
  • Hair Up L2 winner Samantha Twist: New College Durham (Runner-up Kayleigh Holmes,
    Bishop Auckland College)
  • Hair Up L3 winner: Adrienn Ani, Carlisle College (Runner-up Oksana Matvijcuka, Hull College)
  • Barbering L2 winner: Dan Ogden, Barnsley College (Runner-up Jacob Lowes, Bishop Auckland College)
  • Colouring winner: Neive Huntington, East Durham College (Runner-up Freya Janney, North Lindsey College)
  • Avant-garde winner: Ella Templeton, Carlisle College (Runner-up Leah Graham, Nescol)


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