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Kaiya Swain

Centre: Sussex Downs College


Kaiya Swain is in the UK Squad competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 while running her own business and mentoring students competing in UKSkills heats.

I had always wanted to go into Beauty Therapy since I was young and liked the idea that I could help someone feel both physically and emotionally better within themselves. So I found out more information about it once I attended a taster day at college. Sussex Downs College has a great reputation for producing highly trained Beauty Therapists and also after talking to local salons the consensus was that the majority of salons would prefer to employ from Sussex Downs College and also offered the combined course of Hair, Beauty & Theatrical Make up. I thoroughly enjoyed challenging myself and setting myself goals and targets. I studied for three years at college to gain the adequate VTCT qualifications, whilst also competing in WorldsSkills UK. 

I was informed of a Worldwide competition called ‘WorldSkills’ and the beauty therapy heats are sponsored by VTCT. I started this journey by competing in the college heats, regionals and national finals which then culminated in competing for one of the top two places in the country, I have succeeded in my goal to reach the final 2 and will continue to work hard to ensure that I will be the one to represent my country for Beauty Therapy at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. This competition has bettered me as a therapist, making me more employable and also setting me a bar above the standard therapist. Through hard work and determination there is nothing that you can’t achieve in the beauty industry.

I would like to train in Indian Head Massage, Reflexology and also do a refresher course in Laser treatments as I trained in this in a previous job but feel that this is something I would like to do more with in the future. I would also like to look into teaching and helping students develop their skills and their future. I also have my own Beauty business ‘Kaiya Rose Beauty’ and work at Ashdown Park spa part-time. I also go into Sussex Downs College to help train and mentor the students that are going to be competing at the regional heats for UKSkills. I have actively been involved in fundraising for Cancer Research UK and also organised a large dinner and entertainment evening for this charity raising nearly £10,000.

Running my own business I am in charge of all aspects from client communication, delivering high quality treatments, accounts, advertising etc. My day begins with salon and treatment preparation, I will then be delivering treatments throughout the day and then will finish with a close down of the salon and sending out appointment reminders for the following day.

The advice I would give current students is to focus, work hard and get as much out of your training as you can. Excel in all areas and prove your commitment and dedication. I would recommend getting a Saturday job or volunteer in a local salon or somewhere that you will have to deal with the public on a regular basis so you can start to see what a typical day is like and what is involved, it will also start to build your communication skills and confidence which are crucial skills needed in this industry. Take full advantage of everything your college and lecturers have to offer.

Kaiya has received a number of awards including:

  • Student of the year two years running
  • Certificate of excellence
  • First place at the UK Skills regionals 2014