Barbados has once again been placed on the map, with Rukiya Clarke copping a bronze medal at this year???s WorldSkills Americas competition in Colombia.

Team member and Senior Technical Officer with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, Paul Puckerin, explained that the Americas competition had recently implemented age limits which had restricted participation from WorldSkills Barbados first and second place winners (hairdressing), Tahira Hurdle and Jessica Willoughby.

However, he noted that 19 year-old Rukiya, who placed third at WorldSkills Barbados, represented the island well and did her country proud.

???Over the last four days I was fortunate to see her participating??? The first day I think was a bit overwhelming because she saw the effort and talent that was needed???One of the things that I think motivated her was that, even though there were three competitors [in her category], it was not going to be an automatic medal; you had to reach the minimum target of 470 points,??? he revealed.

Rukiya confirmed that WorldSkills Americas was a true test of her talent. ???It wasn???t anything like what I expected, it was different to [WorldSkills Barbados] ??? different techniques and hairstyles,??? she said. The aspiring cosmetology teacher added that she enjoyed the experience and was looking forward to finishing her studies at Semaj International School of Cosmetology and Trichology.

WorldSkills Americas 2014 was held in Bogota, Colombia from April 2 to April 5. Participants from countries in North America, South America and the Caribbean participated in 32 skills categories.??In 2012, Akelia Chapman won silver in the hairdressing category at WorldSkills Americas.

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