Window on the world gets closer for students

Two students have made it one step closer to showing their shop window masterpieces to the world at this year’s international skills competition, WorldSkills, being held in London in October.


Kirsty Hoadley, 19, and Hannah Cook, 20, were chosen as finalists for the UK visual merchandising squad after impressing judges with their mock window displays at a four day selection event, supported by Skillsmart Retail. The runners up were Piriyanka Logendran and Jay Samson.


The final selection in June will decide whether Kirsty or Hannah will represent the UK at WorldSkills 2011, the world’s largest international vocational skills competition.


The first ever retail competition in the 61 year history of WorldSkills, the visual merchandising  competition will see the UK representative compete against students from Singapore, Netherlands, Finland and Jamaica, to produce stunning window displays against the clock.


Coached by retail expert Jonathan Baker, the potential UK representatives have been working hard to ensure an outstanding national display is presented at the world championships.

The training has so far included mannequin and product handling, building displays and brand awareness. The students also helped Jonathan on a special commission to transform seven vacant shop windows in Merseyway shopping centre, Stockport, using objects from local museum and art gallery collections.

Over the coming months the finalists will continue their training which will include work experience with VM professionals in some of the UK’s top stores.


Whichever of the students makes it through, there are high hopes for UK success after gaining gold at Euroskills in Lisbon in December.


Anne Seaman, Chief Executive at Skillsmart Retail, the training partner for the UK VM squad said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Kirsty and Hannah, as well as a great way to promote the importance of this creative and skilled discipline on the international stage.  We are really hoping the UK will win and show that we have the best up-and-coming talent in this sector.”


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