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Study Programme

The Study Programme

Study Programmes are a range of courses for 16-18 year olds in the Darlington and Tees Valley area that enable them to develop their personal, social and employability skills whilst in an environment that suits their way of learning. The courses allow young people to gain some real life work experience with an employer to increase their chances of gaining employment, further training or an Apprenticeship.

Scroll down to the menu below to navigate our Study programme page.

We also offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for 16-18 years through the Study Programme. Open this ESOL leaflet for more details.

Study Programme Leaflet [PDF document]


What exactly is the Study Programme? Let us tell you...

Who is this course for?

The Study Programme is designed for learners aged 16-18 (school leavers).

What entry requirements do I need to start the course?

There are no entry requirements for the course.

What is the curriculum intent of this course?

The course is designed to improve learners preparation for adulthood, enhance their skills and improve confidence in social, academic and working lives ready for work or further educational opportunities. The programme runs for a full academic year, September to July (shorter courses are available depending on the time of application). Learners will have gained an academic qualification relevant to their level of study in their chosen vocational area, maths and English, gained work experience in an area of their choice and developed social skills as part of their Study Programme.

What will the course cover?

We offer qualifications from pre-entry level up to level 2 depending on the learners’ ability and pre-course experience. These include maths, English, Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development, joinery, motor vehicle maintenance as well as business administration and customer service. Real life work experience also forms part of the programme as well as many enrichment activities and opportunities.

What could I do when I have finished this course?

Completion of the programme will enhance your application to an apprenticeship, further education or employment.

Where and when will I learn?

Our learning currently takes place remotely due to national restrictions. Outside of national restrictions, our courses are usually based in Learning & Skills Bennet House on the market square in Darlington (in the old Citizens Advice Bureau building). But depending on your qualification, you may also attend vocational workshops at our Lingfield Way site.

What should I bring with me?

You will need to bring proof of ID with you (if you have any, don’t worry if not) when you enrol, and any qualifications that you have previously gained (again, don’t worry if you don’t have any).

How much will the course cost?

The programme is free to attend with no cost to any applicant.  You will receive weekly transport vouchers and lunches whilst attending your programme, and you may be eligible for a bursary to enhance your learning (terms and conditions apply).

What shall I do next?

Scroll down the page to see which courses we currently offer and to find our contact information.


The courses currently offered on the Study Programme are Employability and Customer Service and Retail.

Are you looking for that stepping stone towards an apprenticeship or further training? Our Employability course can help. We have qualifications and experience opportunities including:

  • Confidence building
  • Career planning
  • Teamwork Skills
  • Work Experience
  • Time Management 
  • Job Seeking Skills
  • Employment Rights
  • ICT Skills 

A work placement is provided for this full academic year course.

Courses designed for 16 – 18 year olds also includes opportunity to improve maths and English skills. 

Course details
Course Title Venue Day Time Dates
Study Programme - Employability L&S Bennet House / Remote Learning Mon, Tue, Wed, minimum of 1 day work experience 9am - 3.30pm

Roll on/Roll off

You may be entitled to free lunch and free travel arrangements (to be confirmed during application process). We are always taking applications and enrolments.

Are you aged 16-18 and interested in a career in Customer Service? Our Customer Service qualification will develop your skills and help you communicate professionally with customers.

  • Deal with customer queries and requests
  • Meet and greet visitors
  • Understand personal performance and development
  • Understand working in a business or retail environment
  • Telephone communication skills 

This course could lead onto a Level 2 Diploma. A work placement is provided for this course which also gives you opportunity to improve your maths and English skills. The course lasts up to a full academic year.

Course details
Course Title Venue Day Time Dates
Study Programme - Customer Service and Retail L&S Bennet House / Remote Learning Wed, Thu, Fri minimum of 1 day work experience  9am - 3pm Roll on/Roll off

You may be entitled to free lunch and free travel arrangements (to be confirmed during application process). We are always taking applications.

Information for Parents, Carers and Professionals

School leavers or anyone under the age of 19 can be referred onto our Study Programmes or any of the Diploma programmes.

Our Study Programme courses are free of charge. Those who join the course may be eligible to a free lunch and free travel with Arriva North East. This will be means tested upon enrolment.

Our Study Programme courses can take up to a full academic year and range from entry level up to level 2. Units can be tailored to each individual.

For more information please contact us.

16-19 Additional Tuition Fund

We are able to provide additional support in the form of small class sizes (five or less) for those Study Programme students who have not achieved grade 4 or above in GCSE English and maths by age 16.

We will also provide additional one to one support, where appropriate, for those learners over and above their normal scheduled lessons where learning has been disrupted due to COVID-19.

For more information please contact us.

News and Case Studies


London Visit 2022

The learners from our Study Programme enjoyed an absolutely fantastic trip to London in March 2022 which included a visit to Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. In Parliament we met with our local MP Peter Gibson, toured The House of Commons and the House of Lords and took part in a debate over free travel after the tour.

Reece King

"Before I joined Learning & Skills Darlington, I was a student at Beaumont Hill Academy. I had wanted to join Darlington College, and when I finally became an actual student there, I only lasted 3 days before my anxiety got the better of me and made me upset. I had to return to Beaumont Hill Academy. While it was better for me to return, my actions outside of education were unhealthy to say the least.

I started to finally act like a proper adult before turning 18. I attended my first day of Learning & Skills Darlington’s Study Programme at their better and more central location, Bennet House on the Market Square.

Now in 2022 I’m 19 years old, turning 20. I feel much better mentally then I was 2 years ago. Learning & Skills Darlington has taught me that I can have conversations again without looking and feeling awkward. I’m enjoying other people’s company more often than not.

Thanks to Learning & Skills Darlington, I’ve felt my confidence come back better than ever. I feel grateful to be accompanied by people who understand mine and the other student’s personal struggles. I’m really doing well with my maths, English and other skills.

Thank you, Learning & Skills."

A case study poster with picture of our student Reece King holding up a Thank You Learning & Skills sign. Underneath is Reece's quote.

Molly Rose Crick

"When I started at Learning & Skills Darlington I was very nervous and anxious. I also had low self-esteem and low confidence. Thanks to the support from the staff at Learning & skills my confidence grew and I began to believe in myself and look forward to the future and experiences along the way.

Learning & Skills is a great place to learn if you have had a tough journey in education. All the staff are friendly and approachable, they are willing to help answer any queries and questions that you may have and they make difficult situations sound easy even though they might not be.

The staff at Learning & Skills can help you with your work and they don’t mind repeating themselves over and over again. Some of the experiences I have had are:

  • virtual speakers for school
  • helping the council environment services team
  • keeping the parks and pathways in the area looking tidy and smart

At Learning & skills there is a careers adviser who can help you get career opportunities throughout the year. Without Learning & Skills I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and help they have given to me. The staff are friendly and approachable when anything unexpected happens.

Thank you Learning & Skills."

A case study poster with picture of our student Molly Rose King holding up a Thank You Learning & Skills sign. Underneath is Mollys quote.

Work Experience

We are super proud of our Study Programme learners, having received the best ever feedback from the manager of DBC’s Environmental Services last week “the best group we have ever been sent to work with Environmental Services / Park Rangers”. The learners were resilient and all enjoyed their time out working despite the temperamental weather.

Some of the learners took part in work experience at Bennet House, including covering the reception desk and practicing their first aid skills.

A big thank you to the Study Programme and the Bennet House team who have pulled together these last two weeks and made sure everything has continued as normal.

“I enjoy coming to the Learning & Skills Study Programme. The tutors are very supportive and have helped me with my studying. I look forward to joining the Motor Vehicle Diploma course and then becoming an Apprentice” Ayman Alammar

Food for Thought Project

Our Study Programme students lent a helping hand with the Food for Thought Project in December 2019. Thanks guys, great work!

Hippodrome Visit

Over a number of weeks, our Study Programme learners worked at the Hippodrome finding out about the story and the history of the theatre, its restoration, including funding for restoration. They have researched jobs in a theatre and developed the characters (ghosts, and ghostbusters) they eventually played in the Ghost Tour.

Many of the young people were anxious and nervous about getting involved, having never been to a theatre before, but working with the Actors’ Guild, alongside our tutors Debbie, Grainne and Jackie, the learners enjoyed a highly enriching experience, boosting their confidence, developing their cultural awareness and being genuinely appreciated by the people who went on the Tour. They all achieved a level 1 arts award as a result on top of their overall qualifications.

Contact and Referrals

For further information about the Study Programme please contact:

To refer someone onto the Study programme please complete the referral form [word document] to apply.

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