Learning the truths about beauty

It is the ultimate indulgence, a day of massages, facials and beauty therapy, perhaps on a luxury liner or beside the pool of an exclusive health farm.

Now all this can be yours, albeit in the more prosaic surroundings of Sheffield College, as students learn the art of pampering. The college has set up its own mini health farm, serving up beauty therapy and fine food to anyone with a day to spare.

Beauty therapy and catering students offer the health farm days at Pounds 15 for a facial, manicure or pedicure, full body massage, electrolysis and lunch. In industry the treatments would be worth around Pounds 80.

Helen Lyon, beauty therapy tutor, said: "Students need to work with real clients as part of their vocational training. They are expected to deliver to professional standards because when they finish their course with us on a Friday they could be walking straight into a job at a salon, health farm or cruise ship on the Monday."

Trainees studying for national vocational qualification level 3 treat clients before their customers break for a three-course lunch served up by catering students in the college's silver service restaurant.

Beauty therapy trainees are assessed on how they perform and explain the treatments, their after- care advice and professional attitude.

Student Kathryn Barber, 37, who is planning to work on cruise ships, said: "It's brilliant because you work with people of different ages, sizes and skin types. You need to learn how to handle people differently."

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