A former City of Portsmouth College apprentice at the cutting edge of her profession has scooped a top national hairdressing award.

Jess Kennelly and her team from The Parlour in Priory Crescent won South East Salon of the Year at The 9th English Health and Beauty Awards in London.

They were among more than 450 hair and beauty professionals who gathered to hear the prestigious awards announced at the glittering black tie event at The Thistle Hotel.

“I was really shocked because there were 11 salons in the category and four of them were big London salons!” said a delighted Jess. “Our salon is only small, only six of us work there including me.”

Jess explained that The Parlour was shortlisted thanks to client nominations online. She then submitted a video with a slide show to showcase her team’s work.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to all our clients for voting for us, to my staff for all their hard work and to my dad for lending me the money to open the salon five years ago,” she continued.

It’s not the first time Jess has hit the headlines since completing her apprenticeship 11 years ago. In 2019 she featured on BBC tv for The Parlour’s involvement with the Red Box Project to end period poverty.

Jess has very fond memories of her time at College and has retained strong links with the hair and beauty department. “I loved college, the teachers are the best!” she said. “I regularly offer students work experience placements in the salon and love helping them develop their skills and grow their confidence. I also always recommend City of Portsmouth College if someone is looking for an apprenticeship.”

Sarah Warren, Director of Learning for Young People and former sector lead for hairdressing at City of Portsmouth College said: “Jess was a wonderful student and really worked hard to achieve her dreams. We’re all very proud of her achievements and all that she does for us to promote this important sector in the community and beyond”.

A spokesperson for The English Hair and Beauty Awards, said: “The hair and beauty sector plays a vital role in the country’s economy and enhances the local community by employing hundreds of staff.

“The Awards showcased those who promote excellence, set the trends and turn any dream look into reality. These specialists inspire others when it comes to the big and competitive world of beauty.”

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