Giving up chef training for hairdressing has paid off for Rotorua's Alannah Goldsmith.
Each year, the Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation holds national industry awards for top businesses, apprentices, trainers and tutors.
House of Elliott hairdressing apprentice Ms Goldsmith, 26, was the winner of the Midlands Apprentice of the Year award, covering the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region. She found out about her win while driving to Auckland. "When I got the phone call to say I was the Midlands winner, we were on the motorway and the whole rest of the car ride my mum was saying she wished I'd shut up about it. I was excited."
Ms Goldsmith went to Wellington for the awards, which were held on November 11.
She said she nearly didn't enter but at the "last moment" thought she would give it a go.
"When they read my name out I was like, 'oh my gosh, this is real.' I had to go up on stage and I was nervous because I don't really like crowds, but it was exciting at the same time.
"I made it to the regionals last year, I wasn't going to enter this year but a week before applications closed I thought I'd give it a go.
"It was my last year so I thought I may as well."
She said she hoped the award would look good on her CV - although she wasn't planning to leave Rotorua any time soon.
"Being one of only seven regional winners in New Zealand has to look good on your CV. I will probably use it as a bit of an advertisement and hopefully it will help me build up my clientele."
When she first left school, Ms Goldsmith had trained to be a chef before becoming interested in hair and makeup.
"A few years ago I got interested in hair and makeup. My tutor wanted us to learn a bit about hairdressing and afterwards she told me I should carry on with it. A year or so later I decided I was interested in it so I gave up cheffing and decided I would give hairdressing a go. I've really enjoyed it, I wish I had given it a go sooner."
Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation Midlands sales liaison manager Lynette Chapman said Ms Goldsmith was very focused and self motivated.
"She has completed all of her tasks to a high standard and her hairdressing is progressing very well. Alannah is a dedicated professional in her work approach."
Alannah's top five hair care tips:
Get regular trims
Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner
Have a good conditioning treatment once a week or fortnight
Use the appropriate products for your hair type
Make sure you're careful when using heated appliances (straighteners, dryers) and use thermal protection products