TAFE Liverpool hairdressing teacher Donna DeMaria is off to Russia to take up her role as a judge with her industry colleagues from 63 countries at the Olympics of skills from August 22 to 27. Donna is one of five TAFE NSW experts chosen to judge the hairdressing competitions with her colleagues from various countries at the 45th WorldSkills International Championships.
How did you get this wonderful job as a judge in Russia?
I was first exposed to WorldSkills when I started teaching at TAFE NSW. I started as a regional judge in 1991, then got involved in the national competition as a judge around 2000. In 2005 I became the International Australian expert for Hairdressing and since 2011 I've been the International Chief Judge for the hairdressing competition. It's an honour to be in this role as it's voted by my peers from around the world.
What will be involved? How long will it be for?
The actual competition takes place over four days and the four days beforehand are spent preparing and planning with experts from different countries. During the four days of competition, entrants compete in all areas of hairdressing, including women's cuts, men's cuts, bridal styles, catwalk, photography and perming. It's one of the hardest, if not thehardest, competition for hairdressing anywhere in the world!
Do you speak Russian and where will you stay?
No, I don't speak Russian but there'll be a translator on hand. I'll be staying in a hotel with the Australian team close to the competition. We all support each other and usually use the final day as a way to debrief about the whole competition.
What are your responsibilities in Russia?
My responsibility as International Chief Judge is to make sure we have a fair and transparent competition.
As judge, what will you be looking for?
I'll be looking for the competitors who are working at the highest industry standard, as the WorldSkills International Championships benchmarks hairdressing globally. They need to be creative, have good technical and design skills and be able to implement them and they need to always ensure that the client is happy.
As judge, and teacher, how do you give important feedback to entrants/students in a way that's encouraging and not discouraging?
Giving feedback is about making the student or competitor the best version of themselves and bringing out their excellence. I find many TAFE NSW students want to continuously grow and improve and they're always asking for feedback that's going to help them achieve this.
How long have you been doing hairdressing?
I've been hairdressing for 35 years. I love working at TAFE Liverpool because everyone I work with strives for excellence and has the same culture and beliefs I have -- which is to deliver a high level of training that'll make our TAFE students job-ready.