Our History

Wallace Sharps, known as the founder of VTCT, worked as a photographer for the BBC in the 1950s and at the same time ran a model agency in London.

In 1962, he coined the phrase ‘beauty therapy’ and set up the Society of Beauticians to provide qualifications specifically for students wishing to be beauticians, at a time when there were only 40 beauty salons in the UK. As this role changed, the society changed its name to the Society of Health and Beauty Therapists.

Wallace collaborated with experts (including Dr. William Arnould-Taylor, founder of iTEC) to create a scientific syllabus for beauty and body therapy, including the development of equipment for beauty purpose such as vacuum suction, high frequency and audio-sonic vibration which were all developed at his DuBarry School. In the 1970s he was appointed by the Labour government to the Hairdressing and Allied Training Board.

In 1974, Wallace launched the first-ever beauty certificate for City & Guilds ‘Make-up and Manicure’ and later in January 1975, it was decided to separate all the examining functions of the society from that of its other activities and responsibility was given to a newly established organisation, the International Health and Beauty Council (IHBC)

In the 1980s he chaired the National Beauty Therapy Training Board (now Habia/Skills Active) and spent 20 years devising and revising the first NVQs.

In 1983, the Institute of Sports Therapy (IIST) was established as a result of the introduction of qualifications in the field of non-medical sports therapies.

The Health and Beauty Therapy Industry Training Board (HBTITB) was founded at the time of the establishment of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications and the introduction of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

In 1986, the IHBC was formed into a national registered charity and was renamed Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT). This incorporated IHBC with IIST and later IIHHT (the International Institute of Health and Holistic Therapies).

In 1996, VTCT also became an awarding body for NVQs in Hairdressing in order to complement its work in other fields.

In 2016, VTCT acquired iTEC, the internationally recognised Awarding Organisation and Examination Board.

Through VTCT and iTEC, we now offer a full, comprehensive suite of qualifications covering the following sectors: Beauty Therapy, Hairdressing & Barbering, Sports & Active Leisure, Complementary Therapies, Business Skills and Hospitality & Catering.

With over 3,000 training locations globally, VTCT has achieved #1 in the Hair and Beauty Industry and continues to champion its core value to further enhance vocational and technical education standards not just in the UK, but globally.

In 2022, VTCT acquired Skillsfirst Awards which strengthened our position within the education and apprenticeship market, expanding our services to employers, centres and learners as well as reinforcing our charitable objective of seeking to advance education for the benefit of the public.