Beauty Therapy - What is required to be a WINNER HERE- Exclusive Interview of Beauty Skill Expert Ms.Vaishali K Shah

To be a winner in beauty therapy, START EARLY in life with learning skills- Vaishali Shah

The buzz around World Skills Competition-2017 at Abu Dhabi is yet to subside. Karishma Gupta has made India proud by winning Medallion of Excellence in beauty therapy. India‘s journey in WorldSkills Competition has been illustrious. This journey with WorldSkills Competition for our country started in United Kingdom in 2011.The progress of India in WorldSkills Competition, which is organized every 2 years, has been remarkable. We made our presence felt from the very second participation when Ravina Bhati represented Team India in Leipzig, Germany, (2013). Team India won the first Medallion of excellence in beauty therapy in World Skills Competition’2015, Sao Paulo, Brazil when Neha Chande secured India’s first Medallion of excellence by competing against 25 countries in beauty skills.

Interestingly, all the 3 contestants, Ravina, Neha, Karishma; who represented Team India in last 3 consecutive WorldSkills Competition and brought laurels to our country, belonged to LTA School of Beauty.

We are delighted to bring to you, an exclusive interaction with Ms. Vaishali Shah, the Champion Maker, Trainer and Director of LTA School of Beauty who coached all the 3 champions of beauty therapy in World Skills Competition.

Q.1.First thing first; in 44th World Skills Competition 2017, Team India finished with 1 Silver Medal, 1 Bronze Medal and 9 Medallion of Excellence, share with us your feeling of being part of a team flying Tricolor on the world stage.

Vaishali- Firstly,I am very thankful to B&WSSC and NSDC for bestowing their faith in me and assigning me the responsibility as Beauty Skill expert from 2013 onwards till date for preparing Indian contestant for the   WorldSkills competition. 

It was indeed a very proud moment for me to see our Indian contestant competing so well on world stage and despite being relatively new to this competition we have still returned home with 11 medals and medallion for excellence. Our performance has been improving year on year. India’s achievement is a story of rising power of India on the world stage w.r.t. excellence in skilled workforce. 

Q.2. Charisma of Karishma in World Skills Competition, Abu Dhabi is commendable, how was your journey of preparing world champion?

Vaishali- Karishma Gupta was selected to represent India in beauty skills category from nearly 100 contestants after 5 rounds of competition spread over 8 months and conducted by BWSSC supported by CII. Karishma had just passed out from the beauty academy with 18 months diploma qualification. I had to work on her various technical and non-technical aspect from the competition point of view .

She had to undergo nearly 2500 hours of rigorous practical training both In India and abroad to sharpen her competitive edge . As part of this training before the final competition in Abu Dhabi, we had exposed her to training and competition in Singapore and UK. We had to work very closely to improve on her performance in timings, finishing, hygiene, client care, wrapping ups and several other aspects which matters a lot in the final reckoning.

Other aspects which we worked on were her diet and nutrition, guiding her on sleep pattern, working on her body rhythm, bringing about grace in her art, grooming etiquettes and above all building her mental and emotional strength. Throughout, the training period, which was nearly a year, Karishma and me bonded like one and I knew her state of mind like no one else during this phase. It was important for me to keep her focus only on winning at world stage and keep her away from all other negative thoughts and developments which could have distracted her from our goal.              

Q.3. You have coached all the 3 candidates who represented India in beauty therapy at WorldSkills Competition.For our readers and future contestants, please share the common factors possessed by the 3 champions (Karishma, Neha and Ravina). 

Vaishali- Well if you ask me what makes a champion I would say there are few fundamental elements

A)     Candidate must Start early in life with learning skills and an ideal age would be 17-18 years. As per WorldSkills format, contestant for beauty therapy skills has to be less than 22 years of age . Ideally, a candidate should have undergone anywhere between 12-18 months of formal training in beauty skills prior to competition.  All three champions Karishma, Neha and Ravina started in beauty training with LTA while they were in their teens. All three of them completed one year of beauty education and training before entering into serious competition.   

B)      Support from Family and trainers matters a lot as the candidate should be willing to dedicate atleast 3 years of their life pursuing their goal to become a champion.   All three of them received support from their family, employers and their trainers.

C)      Extreme dedication, hunger for glory and focus on winning. These attribute within a candidate is what makes them champion. We must ensure that only those candidates who has demonstrated these triads makes the cut.

D)     Exposures to various competition both national and international competition. We must ensure that prior to competing on world stage, candidates gets enough opportunities to overcome stage frights. We ensure that candidate performs under public glare on several occasions before they perform on world stage. 

Q.4. Karishma in 2017, Neha in 2015, Ravina in 2013, you and LTA School of Beauty seems to be evolving as Champion Producers for beauty skills. What does it take to produce world champions in beauty therapy?

Vaishali- Well I always believe that each one of us should contribute in whatever way possible to make our country and our own self proud. The first time I came to know about WorldSkills competition was in 2012. Since that time it was my burning desire to orient students towards producing excellent beauty professional who would excel not only within the industry but also at the world stage.  I am glad that we could imbibe the elements of WorldSkills quick enough to produce champions within couple of years . A sound selection process in identifying candidate and rigorous training regime for selected candidate goes a long way in producing champion.

Q.5. Your selection of candidates for championing world skill competitions is notable. What kind of process and criterion would you recommend for selection of candidates for competitions? 

Vaishali- Process of selecting potential candidate should start very early with orienting and motivating students with right age and zeroing in on those who have demonstrated right temperament for competition. Holding rounds of mock competitions helps in narrowing down on potential candidates. As candidates go through several rounds of competition from cluster to regional to national and final selection, they undergo different types of training depending on what area of weakness we would like to work on in a candidate. Not all candidates last the distance as training sessions are grueling and takes a lot out of candidate. Iam glad that the method has worked so far for us. However, we have set higher goals for coming years. Accordingly, our selection process and training regime would undergo changes. 

Q.6. There are several competitions being held in beauty therapy for selecting future contestants.Please share what all competitions are there? And what are the stages and levels of competitions one must go through to reach to a level of WorldSkills Competition?

Vaishali- As far as pathway to WorldSkills competition is concerned,it’s straight-forward. NSDC which is the official body representing India in WorldSkills organization provides guidelines to Sector SkillsCouncil (Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council) to conduct State Level, Regional level and National level competition to select candidate for their respective skill category. Attempt is to select the final candidate during IndiaSkills competition, held in July every year to coincide with Youth Skills Day.   

All other competition which one comes across in our country are more largely the ones which are held by one or the other association or private event in nature. In such private events, candidates would have to self-sponsor entire expense incurred to take part in such competition including entry fees, travel, lodging and boarding. However,there are no age limits in such private events.   

Q.7. Participation and winning in these competitions brings recognition to candidates.How does it convert into an advantage to career for the winner in beauty therapy? 

Vaishali- This is most exciting part of candidate’s life when he/she succeeds in their quest. Today the kind of name and fame which the winning candidates gets at the age of 21 is what someone would take about a decade of effort to reach. Karishma Gupta and Neha Chande are already a well-known face in the industry. They are officially recognized as the skill ambassador and featured in every leading media house publication. Job offers come pouring in from the best in the industry. Even international companies are laying out red carpet to welcome such winners with pay packet running in thousands of dollars.

Winners are rewarded and recognized by ministers at the behest of Honorable Prime Minister. Life for winners after WorldSkills win is nothing short of a dream come true.

Q.8. Beauty skill as a career is gradually getting recognized as several beauty schools, academy and institutes are flourishing in India. But it is yet to make way to mainstream of education. What do you think are the barriers for beauty skill to evolve as mainstream of education?

Vaishali- It’s true that only recently beauty business has got the recognition as an industry. It is also an undisputed fact that beauty industry has large scope of providing employment and creating young entrepreneurs. I have no doubt that it won’t be long before beauty education and training would be part of mainstream education and much like what had happened to IT sector some decades ago. We would start seeing university diplomas and degree being offered in beauty cosmetology and hairdressing.  It is just a matter of time.  

Q.9. If one chooses to make a career in beauty skill, what are the opportunities and rewards available in beauty therapy for an aspiring candidate?

Vaishali- Beauty industry offers one of the best chance to start one’s own business before one turns 30 year. It is well known fact that beauty industry is growing in leaps and bounds and among the fastest with growth rate of over 18%. In the Indian scenario, if one must really capitalize on this then one has to acquire the right skills, knowledge and qualification. Young professionals who could offer services to clients which is a treatment in nature and not just grooming services, they can then take advantage of higher realization per clients besides earning respect from peers and clients, for being highly knowledgeable, qualified and being skilled .

For the right skilled and qualified candidates there is never dearth of high paying jobs and best of position with the best in industry. International job market is opening for skills from India and if one aspires to take up overseas job then one needs to top up domestic qualification with international qualifications such as CIDESCO.

Q.10. Certainly, back to back Medallion of Excellence in beauty therapy at World Skills Competition is an achievement.Expectations are now to win Gold Medal. Do you think Team India is ready?Are we doing enough to win a Gold Medal in World Skills Competition? In terms of facilities, infrastructure, curriculum, where do you think we need to improveto secure a Gold Medal in next World Skills competition?

Vaishali- That’s a very good question.

It’s my belief that there is no dearth of talent within our country and winning gold medal is now within our reach. By the way, India has already won its first gold medal in international competition when an Indian contestant won gold medal at Oceania skills competition in 2015.

For us to ensure Gold medal in the up-coming events we would need to identify candidate and build support team well in advance. Also, we have to ensure that administrative processes are fully geared with the speed to deliver.

Sometimes, it is just the small-small things which make a big difference in the end. After all, when you see the scores of top 5-6 contestants there are very few points that separates one from other.    

Q.11. Lastly, your piece of advice for the candidates and contestants who are making career in beauty skills and preparing for competitions?

Vaishali- My only advice to aspiring contestants are that our girls in the past have given us reason to dream BIG in life and nothing is beyond our reach now if one is ready to purse one’s goal with the single-minded focus, dedication, perseverance and unshakable belief in oneself. 
 However, before all this comes, acquiring the right skills through systematic training is very helpful.  


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