Nelson and Colne College Group has proved it is a cut above the rest – enjoying a triple success in the first ever national Concept Hair Magazine Apprentice of the Year competition.

Ryan Mossop, 18, who has just achieved his Level 2 Pre-Apprenticeship in Hairdressing at Nelson and Colne College, made history by being named as the overall Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year.

Ryan was selected by the judges as having shown the most technical skill and creative flair out of hundreds of competitors who entered the competition. The former Blessed Trinity RC College student also won the competition’s Colouring category with a top-class modern colouring look, and he is now completing an Apprenticeship at Art House Salon in Burnley.

Meanwhile, fellow Nelson and Colne College Level 1 Hairdresser Rabia Khan Muhammad, formerly of Marsden Heights Community College, was also successful in the Concept Hair Magazine competition winning the Styling award for her 1920s themed professional makeover.

As well as developing high quality skills in the College’s salons, both students were part of Nelson and Colne College Group’s Transitions Programme, which aims to build additional skills such as resilience, confidence and communication. The programme has just been endorsed by a national employer forum, made up of industry leaders including Neal and Wolf and awarding skills body City and Guilds.

Ryan said: “I put in so many hours towards the competition and I feel like it’s really paid off. I didn’t know what to expect. When you go to a live competition you can see what other people are doing. But with the online final, I had no idea what the outcome would be, so it’s a really nice surprise.

“The recognition and support from this is going to be so beneficial in helping me get that step further. My confidence has gone up massively. I didn’t expect to win in my first competition, so it’s been amazing.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at College – I’ve developed my skills, had supportive tutors and enjoyed fantastic opportunities such as this competition. “In the future I would love to be a salon owner and take on Apprentices of my own.”

Rabia, 19, said: “I just can’t believe I won. I’m in shock – it’s the first competition I’ve ever taken part in! I’d never done a 1920s look before and after researching it I settled on the look I was going for. I had to do the hair, make-up, jewellery and outfit.

“Some of the credit for my win must go to my tutors who are the best – I could not have achieved this without their help.

“I want to go onto Level 2 and Level 3 to continue improving my hairdressing skills and this will help me a lot. In the future I’d like to have my own salon after university.”

Celebrity Hairdresser Andrew Barton, who helped judge the final, said: “The standard of entries from all of the categories was outstanding. It’s great to see the future of hairdressing in such talented hands.

“The overall winner of the first ever Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year, Ryan, blew us away with his ability to fulfil, understand and interpret exactly what the category brief was asking for and deliver this in a truly amazing colour transformation.”

Claire Pye, Head of Division for Hair and Beauty at Nelson and Colne College Group, said: “Ryan and Rabia have demonstrated exceptional skills to win the awards they have, against strong competition.

“This is the first year we have had a competition class as part of the Transitions Programme for our Pre-Apprenticeship Level 2 students. To come away with three national accolades is a brilliant result, and it is not only testament to the talent that our students possess, but also an endorsement of the high-quality professional and personal skills development they receive from our College Group teaching team.”

Nelson and Colne College Group achieved a 100% Advanced Vocational pass rate in 2020 and offers Hairdressing and Beauty courses to 16-18 students at two campuses – Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College – with Accrington and Rossendale College having completely new salons for the 2020-21 academic year.

Students are also benefiting from a new curriculum from this academic year, featuring improved technical qualifications, which are better aligned with industry demands and needs. These include programmes in Beauty Therapy, Hair and Media Make-up, and Hairdressing and Barbering, enabling progression into more specialised vocational Hairdressing or Beauty pathways at Level 2 and 3.

In addition, the College Group’s adult provision has been revised. On offer are part-time courses to support retraining while still working, as well as fast track barbering and make-up courses for those looking to upskill quickly.

For more information about Nelson and Colne College, please visit, and for Accrington and Rossendale College, please visit To apply, or for application support, contact the Admissions Team at or call 01282 440272.

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Published On: October 12th, 2020
Nelson and Colne College