Success Stories

Apprentice of the Year

Darlington Borough Council, Learning & Skills Apprentice, Luke Reynolds, has been awarded Aycliffe Business Park’s Apprentices of the Year, beating competition from large companies such as Gestamp Tallent and Hitachi Rail Europe, to scoop the accolade at the Make Your Mark business awards event, held at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

Luke, originally from Branksome School, joined the Diploma Motor Vehicle Level 2 Programme with Learning & Skills in September 2012. The course did not include mandatory work experience, but it was introduced to provide an insight into the world of work in the garage environment and to develop transferable skills. An arrangement was made for Luke to work 3 days a week on a voluntary basis at Gregg Little Testing Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

LukeLuke completed the Diploma in July 2013 and was offered employment at Gregg Little Testing. He then joined the Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 2. Luke And Graham

Apprenticeship with Learning & Skills. Luke always received glowing reports from his placement and he completed the Level 2 Apprenticeship in July 2014. He then enrolled on the Level 3 Apprenticeship and gained 3 Distinctions and 1 Merit in his exams. On completion of the course he was offered a full-time position as Technician and Transport Manager with Gregg Little Testing.

Graham Curry, Apprenticeship Trainer said, "During the three and a half years I have taught Luke he has always worked to the best of his ability both in the classroom and workshop environment and been a pleasure to teach. He deserves this award for all of his hard work with Darlington Borough Council Learning and Skills and Gregg Little Testing Centre." For further information about all Learning & Skills Apprenticeships, please contact Ian Saunders on (01325) 405601 or email l&


Watercolours course

Fiona Gaffney, 73, joined the Watercolours course with Darlington Borough Council’s Learning & Skills Service. She joined the course after seeing an advert in the local paper and decided it might be for her as she loved art from the time she was at school; however, due to the curriculum in school she was unable to continue art and instead joined a music course.

Fiona joined as a beginner and then progressed to an intermediate level and then advanced, and she is now fully confident in painting with watercolours, although she feels that she is still learning and has a lot more to learn.  Her Tutor, Kit, delivered the Watercolours courses at Crown Street Library and the Coleridge Centre.

Fiona said, “The course has helped me gain confidence in art, my daughter is also a painter so it is lovely to have something in common.  Kit is a wonderful teacher.  She is always calm and gentle with us and doesn’t make us feel that we are not learning.  We have so much fun in the class and I have made some good friends.  I would recommend this course to anyone.”



Success2 SmallDaniel Hope (Customer Service Advisor – Darlington Borough Council), said: “Learning & Skills Service gave me a great opportunity to learn valuable knowledge and skills to further develop the skills needed in the workplace. I have successfully completed both a Level 2 in Business and Administration and a Level 3 NVQ in Customer Services. The support given by both the management and colleagues in the workplace and the supportive guidance and training from Barbara, has helped secure a full-time position within the Customer Services environment and has also widened the horizon for future prospects”.