Darren Hopkinson, has been shortlisted for Student of the Year at the VTCT Excellence Awards

Adult learner shortlisted for Student of the Year

15 June 2023

Adult barbering student, Darren Hopkinson, has been shortlisted for Student of the Year at the VTCT Excellence Awards.

The VTCT group is a nationally recognised awarding body, and provides qualifications and assessments in the hair, barbering, beauty and aesthetics industry. Their ‘Excellence Awards’ are an opportunity to showcase local and national industry talent. Rotherham College has also been shortlisted for College of the Year through the VTCT awards.

Darren, who has been studying at Rotherham College since September 2022, said: “It’s been really good. I’ve learnt new techniques, I’ve engaged well with the tutors, they’ve been fantastic, they’re very helpful and very informative. I’ve also built good relationships with the younger students. As an older student I didn’t think I’d fit in with the 16-18-year-old student’s but they’ve accepted me as one of them and it’s amazing, so not only do I have support from tutors but also my peers.”

Darren was initially interested in barbering when he noticed a lack of mobile barbers in the Rotherham area.

“I work as a psychotherapist and a lot of friends and family used to ask me if I knew any mobile barbers, which is not something you really hear of, so I thought I’d tap into that market so that I could visit people who were housebound, had trouble leaving the house or visit assisted living homes so that vulnerable clients didn’t have to go to the trouble of leaving their homes for a haircut.”

When asked how he felt about his recent success, Darren said: “I feel elated and proud that the college has recognised, not only the work I’ve done inside the college but also the work I’ve done outside of it. It’s also changed how I am at college, and as an adult learner, it’s shown me that you can learn new skills with success. I feel inspired by other people. I look at other people and what they’ve achieved and I look up to them. I think ‘if they can do it, then so can I’ and it inspires me going forward, just knowing that I can do anything I put my mind to. One challenge I’ve had to face at college has been my age and going back to learning after so many years. I’ve had to get used to the new way of teaching with a lot of things being online now as well so it’s been a massive learning curve for me.”

Darren, along with Rotherham College’s Media Makeup department, will attend the final round of the competition in Milton Keynes on the 13th of July.

Good luck to all involved!

Find out more about our Barbering courses.

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