Wiltshire College in Chippenham is the first in the country to achieve a Centre of Excellence award from the International Insti-tute of Anti-Ageing.

Students had to achieve a pass mark of 85 per cent first time in three exams covering skin care, make-up and advanced nutrition.

Beauty therapy programme leader Heather Terrington said it was an outstanding achievement for their students, who had to attend extra-curricular training and were not allowed to resit any of the exams.

She said: “This means our students are currently the only ones qualified to retail and advise on the advanced nutrition programme.

“We have seen our clients are coming back for more as they see spectacular results, through a combination of dietary advice and skin care.”

Wiltshire College’s Aspire beauty salon, in Cocklebury Road, was presented with a certificate by Stacey Coulson from the institute.

Chippenham MP Duncan Hames attended and was given a mini facial by 18-year-old student Lauren Camp.

He said: “I enjoyed it and it was a good opportunity to talk to the students about their education and plans to establish this as their career.

“It’s a real vote of confidence for the college to have been awarded this status and it will help the future employment prospects of the students here.”

Lauren, from Box, said: “I felt quite nervous beforehand, but once I started the facial he asked me lots of questions about what I have done since leaving school and was interested to know about the work we do at college.”

Georgia Brixey, 18, of King’s Avenue, Chippenham, went straight onto the beauty therapy course from Hardenhuish School.

She said: “It’s not all just about painting nails. We have to learn about stuff like bones and muscles, lymphatics and hormones as well.”

The Aspire beauty salon uses a variety of skin care ranges, many accredited by the Skin Care Foundation, which are used by the likes of US president Barack Obama and model Elle Macpherson. Beauty salon manager Jane O’Meara, who has worked at the college for 30 years, said she would be particularly sad to see this year’s level three students leave in the summer.