Hilary and Victoria embrace after the competition

Fashion students win the Euros

Two fashion undergraduates from Somerset College beat European style icons to win gold in EuroSkills held in Rotterdam last week.

Hilary Wells and Victoria Griffiths, who both study BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles at the College, were the only competitors from the UK to win gold except the Social, Personal & Hospitality Services group.

The undergraduates were the only UK fashion team to be entered in the event and pitched their skills against countries including the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Victoria, from Abergavenny, said: ‘It's amazing, it's just like winning the Olympics. EuroSkills was a tough competition in a highly pressurised environment. We didn't know the standard of the other competitors, but it was exciting to see how they were taught and worked differently. It was so much fun and well worth it in the end.'

EuroSkills took place in Rotterdam last week and the winners were announced on Saturday at a glitzy closing ceremony.

Before the competition Hilary and Victoria had to do a lot of research into the fabric and other materials and they had to research the brand for which the dress was to be made. During the competition, which took three days, they had to do two toiles (presentations of the garment), fit the dress to a mannequin, pattern cut and make alterations all in just two and a half days.

Hilary, from Bristol, said: ‘We've been preparing for nine months for this competition. We have really increased our skill levels in various different areas which will be essential for working in industry.

‘The competition opened our eyes to what would be needed in industry as we had to prepare everything to minute details. We had to present to the judges as they though they were industry buyers. It was a really nerve wracking but enjoyable competition.'

Gary Mills, the undergraduate's tutor at Somerset College, said: ‘I am over the moon for the girls. They worked so hard against stiff competition to walk away with the Gold medal. We are all so proud of them.

‘Skills in the industry are important in the delivery of our courses. We have highly talented undergraduates at Somerset College. The College has a strong reputation in national shows, including Clothes Show Live and Graduate Fashion Week. Even Jeff Banks quoted us as one of the top five fashion educators in the UK. Now we've proved we're world class.'

Somerset College offer BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles in partnership with the University of Plymouth. For more information contact enquiries@somerset.ac.uk, or call (01823) 366 331.

UK Skills is a not-for-profit organisation which champions skills and learning for work through competitions and awards. The organisation was established in 1990 with the primary purpose of raising skill levels in the UK through skills competitions and managing the UK team which competes in the WorldSkills Competition and the new EuroSkills competition. EuroSkills aims to create a new platform for the promotion of the skilled workforce, and skills and vocational education in Europe.