Testimonials and success stories

"My Level 3 apprenticeship with Learning and Skills has helped me begin my career pathway in Housing. Learning in the centre has allowed me to put my skills and knowledge into practice and I feel I have been fully supported throughout."

Chloe Pratt 

Allocations Support Assistant

Chloe Pratt apprentice photo

"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."

Daniel Hope

Customer Service Advisor

Daniel Hope apprentice photo

“I enjoy coming to 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

Study Programme

Learning for Leisure 

Derek Dryden has attended a variety of cookery courses with Learning & Skills, he recently attended the Indian Cookery course. "I found the course a really relaxing, enjoyable and educational experience. Reshma is very patient and knowledgeable: the recipes are varied and very tasty. 

As always, I find when you try a recipe, there are slight alterations you might make for the second time you try it. Because there are spices involved, you need to consider your own taste: whether you prefer more or less spice (to be honest, the spice strength in the recipes are generally very modest, so don’t be afraid to be a little braver, if that’s your preference). 

Having completed the initial course, my confidence and range of recipes has widened a lot."

Dereck Dryden apprentice image

Community Learning 

Fiona Gaffney, 73, joined the Watercolours course. 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 Gaffney apprentice photo

Family Learning

"The course helped me find stories that my children liked so I could encourage them to read. Before they were not interested."

"I can now help my children with homework because I can do it the way the teacher teaches them."

"We read and learn together I help him with his homework and he helps me with mine!"

"I feel since I have been attending the family courses that my daughter has got more confident in herself and the homework and stuff she does at school . She has come out of herself so much."

"I have been able to capture my son’s imagination. He is now very keen on writing."

Family learning apprentice photo

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. 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.

Luke completed the Diploma and was offered employment at Gregg Little Testing. He then joined the Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 2 Apprenticeship with Learning & Skills. Luke always received glowing reports from his placement and he completed the Level 2 Apprenticeship. 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 Graham Curry on 01325 405601 or email l&[email protected].


“It has been a brilliant 2 years for me – I have gained such valuable skills and knowledge from my workplace that I can now offer to my new employer. Learning in centre has been brilliant; Barbara is always supportive and makes learning interesting. Both Barbara and Ian always had my best interest at heart and went out of their way to help me and offer advice. My line manager has been amazing, couldn’t have been better. All of my colleagues were so friendly and overall I have enjoyed every minute and would like to thank everyone”.

Caroline Towers, who completed an Apprenticeship and Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration while working in Darlington Borough Council’s HR team, is now employed as a HR Officer with Hitachi Rail Europe in Newton Aycliffe.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed attending Italian courses with Shan. She gives us a good challenge but also has a good sense of humour. Caters at the right pace and she gives good feedback and explanations which help me to grasp the Italian language more easily”.

Linda – Italian course

“The learning I have had has been fantastic. I think the initial assessment procedure is brilliant. I only started   in April 2015 as an Entry Level 2 and now in November 2015 I am on Level 2. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Glyn whom is a very patient teacher”.

Natasha – Functional Skills ICT (Entry Level 2 – Level 2)

“My son was choking on a piece of bread, I knew what to do straight away as we had covered choking in my Family Safety Course the week before – I was so pleased I had completed the course I dread to think what would have happened”.

Ashley - Family Learning course

“I now have the confidence to move on to other courses, I really want to improve my writing I feel okay joining in with a group now”.

Intensive Support Learner, Darlington.

"Thanks so much. I am so happy that the class is to continue, in view of the cutbacks being announced. I cannot begin to tell you what a difference being able to converse in Italian made to our holiday in Bologna. It was wonderful to be able to speak to, and understand people in shops, restaurants, railway stations for example. My husband was very impressed. Can't wait to learn more".

Pauline - Italian

"My skills and knowledge have develop a lot and I have a better understanding of what is involved in Business Admin. Darlington Borough Council was a great place to start my apprenticeship  and I had all the support and help I needed.”

Louise Burn - Advanced Apprentice Business Administration

"We have used Darlington Borough Council for a few years now and have gained some excellent staff through them."

Kids 1st Durham