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News, Success Stories, Case Studies, Quotes and more!

News, Success Stories, Case Studies, Quotes and more!


Welcome to the page where we shine a light on the achievements of our apprentices, tutors and employers alike. 

Click on the links below to jump to the section you're after.

Apprenticeship Case Studies
Quotes from our Apprentices
Quotes from our Tutors
Quotes from our Employers
News Stories

If you're an employer of apprentices and you would like to share a success story, rave about your apprentice or comment on the support from us please let us know.

Apprentice Case Studies


Click on a name below to open their case study

Apprenticeship: Motor Vehicle Mechanics
Date: 26th January 2021
Written by: Graham Curry (Tutor)

Scott initially started the Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 2 Pre-Apprenticeship on recommendation of his brother, Jonathan, who was also on the same course.

Scott had previously completed a sports science course at a local college, was unsure of which career he wanted and had no motor vehicle experience prior to joining the course in September 2016. He was concerned about his lack of experience or whether this vocational area interested him. He was asked to give this area a try and informed Learning & Skills would help move him to another further educational area or help with applying for fulltime job opportunities if this was not the course for him. He agreed, attending the training centre two days per week and after demonstrating an excellent attitude towards the course, excellent timekeeping and attendance record he was offered a work experience position at a local garage, North Road Garage, for three days per week.

During his time with Learning & Skills and North Road Garage Scott linked his on and off the job training to develop his knowledge of motor vehicle systems and practical skills. He completed the Pre-Apprenticeship course in July 2017, gaining a Level 2 Diploma on light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair. Scott had impressed the garage owner so much he was immediately offered a full-time employment and a place on the Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 2 Apprenticeship.

Over the next 12 months Scott further developed his knowledge and practical skills. He passed a range of practical assessments in the workplace by demonstrating his ability to remove, refit or replace faulty components and maintain vehicle systems. Scott also passed NVQ Level 2, Functional Skills Level 1 in ICT, with Learning & Skills, and gained the full Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship in Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair in July 2018.

Scott expressed an interest in joining the Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship and with the support of his employer started this course in September 2018. During this course Scott developed his faulty finding knowledge/ skills, further developed his overall knowledge of vehicle systems and practical skills. Scott required his Functional Skills Level 2 in ICT, which he passed with Learning & Skills, as part of the Apprenticeship. He continued to develop and impress, passing all his Level 3 Motor Vehicle exams with Distinctions in the process. Scott completed Advanced Apprenticeship in January 2020 and, due to his commitment to the course and employer, progressed onto full time employment with North Road Garage. He wished to become a MOT tester but an entry requirement, of 4 years full time employment in the motor trade, has not yet been fulfilled. He will achieve his goal of becoming a MOT authorised examiner in July 2021. This has been a massive achievement for someone with no previous motor vehicle experience, unsure of career ambitions and just goes to show a little direction and effort can result in a very successful career in the motor trade.

Apprenticeship: Site Joinery
Date: 21st January 2021
Written by: Chris Burney (Tutor)

Robert started with Learning & Skills in June 2020 on the Apprenticeship in Carpentry & Joinery programme. Prior to this he worked in a call centre part time but wanted to learn a trade and had always been interested in hands on work. Robert enjoyed Design & Technology at school and enjoys building different projects as he finds this a challenge.

Robert has a strong work ethic and passion to succeed, however when he first started on the training programme he lacked confidence in his abilities both as a joiner as he struggled to complete tasks to the required tolerances and found it hard to communicate effectively with his work colleagues.

As Robert has progressed through the course his confidence has grown incredibly quick over the last few months and he has been able to support his peers during several joinery related tasks. Since starting he has already gained experience in roofing work, hanging doors, laying suspended timber flooring, installing stud walling and pipe boxing which is proving vital to the development of his ability to work within the construction industry.

Robert enjoys the work that he had completed on the course so far and has received excellent praise and reviews from his colleagues and management team.

Robert would like to continue his training further and progress to an Advanced Apprenticeship with his employer and Learning & Skills. He would then like to progress to university to complete an HNC/HND in Construction and the Built Environment.

Apprenticeship: Site Joinery
Date: 21st January 2021
Written by: Chris Burney (Tutor)

Jason started with Learning & Skills in August 2020 on the Apprenticeship in Carpentry & Joinery programme. Prior to this Jason was employed at the Vue and had also worked in student loans and at Lidl. However he was excited to see that there was an opportunity to gain an apprenticeship and have a chance to work for Darlington Borough Council as he saw this as an excellent way to gain full time employment with job security as he would always be able to work if he had a trade. Jason chose carpentry and joinery as he enjoyed Design and Technology at school and was always pleased when he created a project.

Jason has struggled initially as he lacked confidence in his abilities and found it hard to complete tasks to the required tolerances. He is also quiet and finds it difficult to communicate effectively with new members of the team.

Jason is making excellent progress towards his carpentry and joinery apprenticeship and he has gained experience in roofing work, hanging doors, laying suspended timber flooring, installing stud walling and pipe boxing which is helping him to develop his ability to work within the construction industry. He is now able to complete tasks to the required tolerances as his skills have improved at measuring and conversions and being able to use the tools correctly.

Jason would like to continue his training further and progress to an Advanced Apprenticeship with Learning & Skills and gain full time employment with his employer.

Apprenticeship: Business Administration
Date: 21st January 2021

Helen never felt like she fit in at school and was bullied throughout. Due to this she lacked concentration and her confidence suffered. She says “If I got a list of instructions, I would struggle to remember more than two of them”

Helen went to College and University. Although not officially diagnosed, Helens tutor felt that many of Helens issues came from Dyslexia and unfortunately Helen didn’t end up completing the course.

Helen now works as a Contact Team Coordinator and as a Contact Support Officer for Darlington Borough Council at Harewood House. Helen Co-Manages the Team as well as working with families who are accessing supported contact, a challenging and rewarding job.

Her Manager, Alison Poulter, praises Helen saying “Helen is disciplined in her approach to her work, setting goals and targets and making sure there is a plan in place to achieve this. Helen is always enthusiastic about each task she carries out and is also enthusiastic about any opportunity to improve the service or help other areas of the overall service.”

Helen started on her Level 4 Business Apprenticeship in 2020, where she has learned about aspects of Managing People, Business Operations as well as how to Communicate Effectively and Deliver Presentations to groups. She says “I'm very wary of starting courses as my lack of concentration affects my moods so I have often given up on courses if I feel I have fallen behind". However, Helen is nearly finished her course and has received excellent feedback on all of her work. She gets on brilliantly with her group and they all love to hear her talk about her outward-bound activities. Helens’ confidence has grown from strength to strength and her course work is brilliant. "I am enjoying the course and feel well supported from both Amanda (Tutor) and Alison my Manger”.

Helen has shown that despite having some barriers to learning such as bad experiences at school, a lack of confidence and Dyslexia, this doesn’t have to stop you learning and achieving, especially when you do an Apprenticeship because you are learning about things that help you in your job and the things you know from your job help you with your course work.

Apprenticeship: Teaching and Learning in Schools
Date: 20th January 2021

Aimee Walmsley, who is currently completing an Advanced Apprenticeship in Specialist Support Teaching and Learning in Schools is currently employed by Harrowgate Hill Primary School in Darlington.

"I have gained lots of experience working with children of different ages. I have also learnt how to deliver maths and English interventions and to deliver SALT interventions.

I have gained confidence when helping and teaching the children. I have gained new friendships and I have gained more knowledge with the national curriculum. But most importantly I have learnt that not even a national pandemic will stop the children from learning, yes they might not all be sat at a desk doing their work but as a school we have come together to make online schooling work using various methods such as zooms and paper packs sent out to parents and children.

We haven't let a pandemic stop us we have taken it on the chin and adapted to it."

Apprenticeship: Business Administration
Date: 19th January 2021

At 16 I left school to start Sixth Form. Due to difficult personal circumstances, I ended up only leaving Sixth Form with one A-Level. At this point, I knew that I just wanted to enter the working world as opposed to being stuck in a classroom doing another year of something that I was not enjoying.

I decided that I would look for an apprenticeship so that I was able to work, study and learn at the same time, however I had never really been made aware of the apprentice route and what was available. I applied online for a Business Administration Level 3 apprenticeship. I completed the Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship within a local law firm.

Throughout my time on the course I was offered a lot of support and guidance from Learning and Skills. I enjoyed the working environment much more than the idea of further education at university. The longer I worked at the law firm, the more I became passionate about my work and I realised that I had discovered a passion for the law.

My mentor Barbara was a massive support with this as we frequently discussed options available to me following completion of my apprenticeship. The skills I developed within this time were invaluable to my career so far. I was able to develop skills such as dealing with difficult clients, working as a team with colleagues, client care skills, organisational skills, commercial awareness and further my knowledge of legal systems within the firm.

After a year of making connections through my job with various other legal professionals, I was approached by a firm who was recruiting for a Solicitor Apprentice. I am now studying law at Northumbria University while working as an Apprentice Solicitor at Watson Woodhouse Solicitors. I will be a qualified solicitor in 2025.

I would not be at this stage of my career if it was not for the help of Learning & Skills. I could not recommend this route enough for anybody who is unsure on their path. The opportunities available to you following your apprenticeship are unlimited. Full time education is not for everyone, and if you feel this way, there are a lot of other options available to you.

Apprenticeship: Business Administration
Date: 12th January 2021

Amy Bennett, who completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business Administration is now employed as a Learning & Skills Adviser with Learning & Skills.

"I applied for an apprenticeship with Learning & Skills because I saw how successful my brother was when completing his. It was also a way to earn money whilst gaining a nationally recognised qualification. I chose business administration because it is something which is used in many different jobs; therefore, you can work almost anywhere with this qualification.

The training side of my qualification was really informative and as the class size was small the tutor was able to help us all to the best of their ability and always had time for us. The way the training was carried our worked well and I learnt many new skills.

The apprenticeship helped me gain full-time employment which allowed me to earn money and start building my life. It has also helped me gain vital skills for both in the workplace and in everyday life. I currently work as a Learning & Skills Adviser and carry out general administrative duties such as imputing data, answering calls and contacting learners when needed. 

I’m still unsure on where I would like to be in the future, but I do know I enjoy working for Learning & Skills and would like to stay here until I figure out my next step. I would 100% recommend apprenticeships to other young people, as it gives you the required experience and skills needed for the workplace life."

Apprenticeship: Teaching and Learning in Schools
Date: 6th October 2020



Bobby Dobbs, who completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Specialist Support Teaching and Learning in Schools is now employed in the Special Educational Needs team with Durham County Council.

“I started my apprenticeship purely to get an insight into the day to day life within a school and to see if that was a career I would like to peruse. I had already worked in schools, as a volunteer during sixth form, working on the arts as part of the drama group I was in and this is what sparked the interest of working in education. Already knowing that I wanted to work with special needs, I thought that this would be a great chance at starting some sort of career path. I loved my apprenticeship and I would do it all over again if I could.

In late 2018, I gained employment through Durham County Council. Although it’s not in education, it is working with people who have SEN. My job is to help them find employment, whilst helping develop their skills for that role - very different to what I loved doing last year however, thanks to my qualification, I could return to a school (or try many other things) if it doesn’t work out for me with the council.

A huge part of why I have loved the last year is the constant contact and support I received from my tutor and Learning & Skills and I could not recommend them enough.”

Apprenticeship: Site Joinery
Date: 12th May 2020

Jack started with Learning & Skills in November 2018 on the Intermediate Apprenticeship in Site Carpentry. Jack was unhappy in his role as a customer service advisor and applied for the apprenticeship vacancy as he had previous experience working on site and really enjoyed this type of work. Prior to this Jack had attended Longfield School and had to cope with a number of challenging aspects in his family life from a young age. These had a negative effect on his attendance, concentration, behaviour and overall mental health.

Although Jack had a strong work ethic and was confident in talking to others, he lacked confidence in his own abilities which led to him becoming often frustrated with his progress and success. While attending his apprenticeship, strategies were put in place to support Jack with these issues including 1:1 support, meetings with the service mentor, partnership working with local support groups, regular breaks, effective timetabling, and attendance monitoring. As an added pressure, Jack was also required to upskill his maths and English levels which were embedded into his programme. Progress was discussed regularly with his tutor both at the centre and at work. 

As Jack progressed through the course his confidence in his abilities has grown and he has since developed an excellent working relationship with his employer Mark Durham at FM Joinery & Building Services. He is now a vital member of the team who his employer relies upon to carry out his job and promote his business when working with and around customers every day. 

Jack has recently completed the remainder of his Intermediate Apprenticeship throughout the COVID-19 pandemic using electronic communications with no means of face to face learning which Jack believes to be a fundamental aspect of his education. He would like to continue his training further and progress onto the Advanced Apprenticeship programme at Learning & Skills. Jack is due to commence his new programme in May.

Apprenticeship: Business Administration

C Towers Web


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.

“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”.

Apprenticeship: Motor Vehicle Mechanics
Luke Reynolds Web


Luke Reynolds, who completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in Motor Vehicle, 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. After successfully completing this course, Luke embarked on an Apprenticeship and Advanced Apprenticeship with Gregg Little Testing Centre. On completion of these, Luke gained a full-time position as Technician and Transport Manager with Gregg Little Testing Centre.

Quotes from our Apprentices


See below what our apprentices had to say

“Choosing to carry out an apprenticeship can help you develop professionally but also has massive benefits in developing your confidence and helps you grow as a person.”   

Kay - Business Administration Apprentice (January 2021)

“Deciding to enrol on an apprenticeship is one of the best decisions you could make.  Ensuring you are the very best you can be will be your stepping stone to a successful future.”

Kerry - Business Administration Apprentice (January 2021)

“Apprenticeships are a brilliant way to learn in a professional environment to expand on knowledge and understanding”

James - Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Apprentice (January 2021)

“I enjoy my apprenticeship because it gives me the freedom to work outdoors in an open space and to work with others while I learn a trade that will help me for the rest of my life.”

Jason - Site Joinery Apprentice (January 2021)

“I really enjoy my joinery apprenticeship. I find it very informative and I can see how my skills are improving as I am gaining new knowledge every day.”

Robert - Site Joinery Apprentice (January 2021)

“Get real, hands-on experience whilst gaining a qualification, earning money and making friends – what more could you want?"

Saskia - Business Administration Apprentice (January 2021)

“Choosing an apprenticeship is great as you can learn and gain a qualification alongside working in that area, which makes for better opportunities in the future when employers are asking for staff with experience.”

Aimee - Business Administration Apprentice (January 2021)

“Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will work!”

Liam – Teaching Assistant Apprentice (January 2021)

"This apprenticeship has really opened the door and my eyes for a lot of new tasks. It has made me develop a whole bunch of skills and has really brought the best out in me. Learning and working is the best way to gain experience and learn my trade. It has made me develop a lot more confidence in what I do and has really tested me to bring out the best. Working through a pandemic has taught me a lot and has taught me to be mentally stronger too. The Apprenticeship team and staff have all been a massive help and have always been there. It has been a massive challenge but to overcome it is great"

Kieron - Specialist Support Teaching & Learning in Schools Apprentice (October 2020)

"Having this apprenticeship has allowed me to see where I want to go in my career. I have been able to learn multiple things from lots of different angles. No two days have been the same and I have loved every minute of it."

Gemma - Specialist Support Teaching & Learning in Schools Apprentice (October 2020)

"My apprenticeship has given me the support and qualifications to begin my chosen career. It gave me a wide range of experiences to progress straight into a job working as a Teaching Assistant for children with SEN. It has also given me the confidence to go to University and study Primary Education, becoming a qualified teacher in 3 years."

Phillipa - Specialist Support Teaching & Learning in Schools Apprentice (October 2020)

“Apprenticeships are not just for young people - It’s never too late to learn and an apprenticeship can give anyone the opportunity to gain the skills they need to succeed. It was daunting entering the world of learning again as an adult. Especially to be classed as a apprentice, which is pre-conceived to be for younger students... Then COVID19 hit and I no longer had the comfort of the classroom. My tutor is amazing. All classes and learning continued regardless. The course was adapted to be online and Amanda introduced new ways of keeping the group motivated and together, making things more imaginative. Her support has been inspirational. I look forward and my Teams classes. I feel that I have made firm friends and wish I had continued my learning a long time ago. I am proud of what I am achieving"

Naomi - Business Administration Apprentice (August 2020)

"Although I liked the face to face interactions from my course I have found Amanda (Tutor) made the transaction to moving our course online a very simple and straightforward process.  We use Microsoft Teams for our college days and to share presentations. I feel the students have interacted more as a group since moving online and I also enjoy 1:1's as it's easier to connect for a quick catch up via Teams if needed than to think about arranging a meeting"

Helen - Business Administration Apprentice (August 2020)

"I feel more confident diagnosing and fixing faults. They have developed and improved a lot. I have used what I have learned and put in to practice in my job. Yes, I strongly say that my knowledge and personal skills have improved."

Motor Vehicle Apprentice (November 2019)

"My skills have massively developed since I started with Darlington Borough Council Learning & Skills. I have gained a wide range of new skills not only within the business support aspect, but also with all the training I have received, in aspects such as safeguarding, health and safety and first aid. I have become more confident on the telephone and dealing with tricky customers. The advice I got from Barbara helped both in a workplace environment and in general day to day life. I have grown so much as a person, especially surrounding social skills. I cannot thank the L&S team enough for what they have done for me personally, they will never truly know how much it means to me."

Business & Administration Apprentice (April 2019)

"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 - Customer Service Apprentice (2018)

"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 - Business & Administration Apprentice (2018)

"My skills and knowledge have developed 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  - Business & Administration Apprentice (2017)

Quotes from our Tutors 


See below what our tutors have to say

"I have been teaching Motor Vehicle Apprentices for over 20 years and feel honoured to have passed on my knowledge and expertise to the many learners I have taught during that time. I personally get as much of a buzz hearing a learner has passed an exam as they do, observe them using skills I have helped develop or to see their reaction when they have become a fully qualified Motor Vehicle Technician.

During progress reviews it is nice to hear an employer/ supervisor praise the learner on a subject or area I have taught them recently and to hear how the off and on the job training have linked to benefit the learner and also the organisation.

The introduction of the new Apprenticeship standards is a new challenge, but I am confident the learners will be more than capable of showcasing their skills, knowledge and behaviours, which I have monitored and help develop to ensure they pass the End Point Assessment."

Graham Curry, Motor Vehicle Mechanics Tutor and Apprenticeships Manager (January 2021)

"Well done Lana! Many congratulations to Lana Kasagic, who recently passed Level 3 Business Administration with distinctions in all areas. Lana now works for law firm Watson Woodhouse Solicitors in Middlesbrough. The company is paying for her to go to university, which she started on 18th September.  Lana was in Leeds last week helping her new manager with a big legal case. Lana is super excited about her new role as a Trainee Solicitor – we wish her the very best for her future legal career."

Barbara Steggles, Business Administration Tutor (October 2020)

Quotes from our Employers


See below what our employers have to say

"At Moorlands we often use Darlington Borough Council to recruit apprentices for our vacancies. The reason we use apprentices is that we have always found them very keen and willing to learn from the outset. It also allows us to train them in our ways of working, in line with our company ethos. Sometimes people with prior experience in the sector already have established ways of working and it can be difficult to incorporate this into our business and practices.

Another positive is seeing them grow in confidence, not just within their work, but also in day to day life due to the experience they’re gaining in the workplace.

The apprentice wage rate also helps us to ensure more in depth and one to one training is given, without worrying about the financial constraints it has on the business. Overall this leads to a more competently trained member of staff."

Greg Smith, Moorlands Care Home Manager (January 2021)

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

Kids 1st Nursery (2019)

News


National Apprenticeship Week 2021


National Apprenticeship Week is an annual occurrence with the aim of celebrating apprentices’ achievements and their positive effect on local businesses.

This year Apprenticeship Week took place from 8th to 14th February 2021 with the theme of 'Build the Future', aiming to encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeships help individuals to build the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career.

We celebrated Apprenticeship Week with a variety of different activities, including hosting a live Q&A with budding apprentices and taking part in the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge. We spoke to a range of local employers and apprentices in regard to the positive impacts the apprenticeship has had on them and showcased the impacts on our website and social media.

Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge 2021

This year Stockton Learning & Skills hosted the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge. This year, of course, we couldn't take part in a 'normal' challenge due to the pandemic, so they arranged an online quiz between the five local authorities. Good news - #TeamDarlo won and we have been passed the baton to host the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge 2022. Thanks you to all the participants for making this years apprenticeship week happen.

15th February 2021

National Apprenticeship Week 2020


National Apprenticeship Week is an annual occurrence with the aim of celebrating apprentices’ achievements and their positive effect on local businesses.

This year Apprenticeship Week took place from 3rd February to 7th February 2020 with the theme of “Fire It Up”. The theme aimed to fire up conversations between apprentices, teachers and parents around apprenticeships. 

We celebrated Apprenticeship Week with a variety of different activities, including hosting the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge 2020. We spoke to a range of local employers and apprentices in regard to the positive impacts the apprenticeship has had on them and showcased the impacts on their website and social media.

Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge 2020

This year, as #TeamDarlo won the 2019 Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge, we were passed the baton to host the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge 2020. We thought we'd try something a little different this year and went for brain power over physical power. We arranged for the teams to compete in two escape rooms and a mystery trail around Darlington all hosted by Cluedini Live Escape Rooms Darlington [external link] (thanks guys!). 

Congratulations to #TeamStockton who won this year's challenge by escape booth escape rooms in the quickest combined time. We'll see you in Stockton for the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Challenge 2021. Thanks you to all of the apprentices and staff from Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Darlington for participating. Commiserations to us here at #TeamDarlo who fell from grace this year and came dead last. We'll make sure to come back bigger and better next year!

Apprenticeship Week Competition Winners!

During National Apprenticeship Week 2020, we asked our apprentices to come up with a quote or myth-busting fact about their apprenticeship. We had many quotes submitted and we are happy to say congratulations to both Jack Thompson and Saskia Foster who have each won a £10 Greggs gift card.

Saskia's quote

"I think the common misconception about apprenticeships is that once you have finished you are left to find a job for yourself, personally I don’t think this is the case. My Level 2 gave me the confidence and knowledge to secure a permanent job whilst finishing my apprenticeship. I then continued onto a Level 3 and now 4 years later I have been give the opportunity to go onto a Level 4! As scary as it first seemed to be classed as an ‘Apprentice’ again, I am so glad I made the decision as already I can see the benefits and have made some lovely friends along the way!"

Jack's quote

"When you start your apprenticeship by asking questions you can learn a lot more."

National Apprenticeship Week 2019


National Apprenticeship Week is an annual occurrence with the aim of celebrating apprentices’ achievements and their positive effect on local businesses.

This year Apprenticeship Week took place from 4th March to 8th March with the theme of “Blazing a Trail”. The theme aimed to showcase the new energy and passion that apprentices can bring to the workplace, promoting apprenticeships as a positive route for anyone looking to gain new skills or change their career.

Darlington Borough Council Learning & Skills has celebrated Apprenticeship Week with a variety of different activities. They have spoken to a range of local employers and apprentices in regard to the positive impacts the apprenticeship has had on them and showcased the impacts on their website and social media.

During apprenticeship week, current apprentices have taken part in a competitive step challenge to encourage health and well-being. They have also arranged a drop-in event at the Town Hall where members of staff could gain more information about apprenticeships and the positive effect they could have on their department, looking at success stories and the opportunity for up-skilling staff.

The biggest event of the week was the Tees Valley Apprenticeship Week challenge which involves teams of apprentices from all five Tees Valley local authorities competing in a range of mental and physical tasks. Middlesbrough Council Community Learning hosted the event at Middlesbrough Sports Village on Thursday 7th March.

During the day the apprentices had to communicate effectively in relay challenges with Functional Skills twists, undertake team building exercises and sprint challenges as well as other physical activities. Darlington Borough Council apprentices were the overall winners of the event and will assume responsibility of hosting next year’s challenge.

Best Apprenticeships in the Tees Valley


Learning & Skills has the best success rate across all age groups for all levels and all types in the Tees Valley compared to all other local authorities and colleges. It is in the top 3% of highest achievement rates of all institutions in the country (22/735), in all areas for 16-18, 19-23 and all age apprenticeships. This is fantastic news and testament to hard work put in by the staff and learners involved.

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."