Training Opportunities


Please feel free to contact Julia Stephenson, Training Co-ordinator for further information on training or funding as detailed below.  Julia can be contacted on 01833 641010, or by e-mail on, or at our address 9-11 Chapel Row, Middleton in Teesdale, Barnard Castle. DL12 0SN

If you would like to know more and access advice and support to move closer to or into paid employment please see the following links: 

Employability Durham (see links below for details of projects and downloadable details)
Durham Employment & Skills  
or Teesdale Action Partnership (more details below)
Please also check out FREE ONLINE COURSES  currently available. Examples are Level 2 Counselling Skills (Learning Curve) or Durham Community Action’s “Using Social Media to Stay Connected” or the insightful and very useful “Lantra Non-Technical Skills in Farming”


Please see possible funding sources under FUNDING 2021 below & links to qualifications at bottom of this page.
NPTC Level 2 assessments for Transport of Animals by Road (Short Journeys) will be held at UTASS on Wednesday, 1st December from 12 noon – cost £75.  Prior registration is required.
Emergency First Aid at Work training will be held at UTASS on Friday, 10th December (£70+VAT), as well as the opportunity to access this training early in the New Year.  This follows on from 9 trainees achieving the Outdoor First Aid and Paediatric First Aid qualification on 25th & 26th September.
NPTC ROUGH TERRAIN TELESCOPIC – 2 courses, each with 3 trainees, were held in Weardale and Teesdale on 5th, 11th & 12th June; and 15th-17th June inclusive. We plan to run another course shortly.
Lantra Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross Cutting was held on 28th & 29th June with one trainee commenting “I really enjoyed the course as an absolute beginner it was great”.  We plan to run another NPTC/Lantra course shortly.
Being planned for early next year is another opportunity to achieve the Managing Medicines qualification, when Castle Vets & Fiona Lovatt will be running workshops covering animal health & welfare, following the online training arranged by Castle Vets for Thursday, 4th November at 7.30pm.  For anyone struggling to access this training online, UTASS  hosted a viewing on 4th November at 9-11 Chapel Row, Middleton in Teesdale with bookings made via Castle Vets.
A two day Hedgelaying Introductory course was held on 8+9 November with 6 trainees and some of these trainees returned for the 2 day Improvers’ course on 12+13 November.  Cost was £50, thanks to part funding by the Durham Hedgerow Partnership and Weardale Rural Training.
Following the NPTC Safe Use of Sheep Dip training and assessments held here in June, we have been advised that there is an opportunity to do this training at Tebay with The Farmer Network, for anyone needing it urgently.  The training will be on Monday 22 November (9.30am-4.30pm) with assessments on 23 or 24 November and costing £220. Please contact Donna Gough on for more details plelase phone 01768 868615 or email
NPTC SAFE USE OF PESTICIDES training for PA1 (theory), PA2 (mounted) and PA6 (Handheld) was completed in August and assessments for 9 trainees held in early September.
BRITISH WOOL SHEARING COURSE (16 or 15+with parental consent) this course was held on 30th June and 1st July at Pikestone, Woodland with 7 trainees instructed by Bill Mason & Richard Schofield.
For how to shear sheep from British Wool, please see step by step guidance on this link
MiDAS Minibus Awareness Training, including accessible vehicles was held at UTASS on 28th June with 10 trainees attending on 5th or 13th July at Middleton Mart for the final element, which was the driver assessment.  A second training course was held on 4th October covering standard minibuses only.
NPTC Safe Use of Sheep Dips training and assessments for 5 trainees were held in early June, thanks to Fiona Lovatt and Sharon Cooksey for delivering this training and to Bimeda for sponsoring the event.  CERTIFICATE OF COMPETENCE FOR THE TRANSPORT OF LIVESTOCK Cattle & Sheep for 6 candidates was also held at UTASS at the same time.  
Northumbria Dry Stone Walling Association Taster courses have been held on 29th May and 24th July 2021 at Woodland.  A further 4 trainees attended on Saturday, 9th October and had a brilliant day with lovely weather.  Dates are already booked in for next year for those who are 14+ for 11th June & 23rd July (cost £40).
If you would like to know more about the Northumbria Drystone Walling Association please see
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     Trainees and hosts at the Northumbria Drystone Walling Taster held at Woodland 

FUNDING – 2021


UTASS are delighted to announce that Weardale Area Action Partnership will again be offering part funding to Weardale residents and/or those employed in Weardale. Here is a link to the application form to return to UTASS detailing your interests which also lists the subsidised rate trainees would contribute towards the training AppForm-WAP- 15.6.21-JCS
Training  got underway at Frosterley, utilising WAP part funding for two trainees to attend the two day NPTC Rough Terrain Telescopic training, followed by assessments, with another two trainees coming to UTASS to gain their NPTC Certificate of Competence for the Transport of Livestock and NPTC Safe Use of Sheep Dips qualifications during June.  Also in June one Weardale trainee joined with three others to gain their Lantra Chainsaw qualification and another two trainees from Weardale were happy to improve their shearing skills on the British Wool Shearing course.  Two more Weardale trainees are doing their NPTC Safe Use of Pesticides training during August, whilst more have attended Hedgelaying and Quad Bike Training.
We would like to thank the Wellesley Trust Fund at The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland for providing opportunities for young people to learn new skills and qualifications enabling them to access training and/or employment outside their immediate locality.
All applicants were contacted to advise if they had been successful.  Six days of Lantra 13-15 Tractor Driving training have been greatly enjoyed during the first two weeks in August for 12 trainees.  In addition the opportunity provided has been accessed by three car driving trainees, 1 quad trainee and 3 trailer trainees.  Due to the recent announcement that the trailer test is obsolete, we have been able to offer additional opportunities for 3 more car driving trainees, 2 more Lantra 13-15 Tractor trainees and several more Pre Tractor Test preparation sessions. 
Please see 2019 images of this training below and feedback from previous trainees.

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Photos by kind permission of the Teesdale Mercury.

Feedback from applicants who have accessed this opportunity in 2021 include “Thank you for giving me the amazing opportunity … I really enjoyed my day and learnt loads of new agricultural hazards… which is why I want to say a massive thank you!  (The trainer) was a fantastic tutor making the day enjoyable and interesting.  I have already started to use the skills I learnt on my family farm and they have come in rather handy…  Please could you also pass on my thanks to the Wellesley Trust Fund for funding the training, I really appreciated it.” i
A trailer trainee has commented “… thank you for all the support and guidance both financially and practically.  Thanks again, so glad we have Utass to be there to help us all.”
ANOTHER FUNDING OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ONLY – If you are a young person living in Middleton-in-Teesdale or surrounding parishes and would like funding to attend any of the following, please get in touch with Julia at UTASS, as Middleton Educational Trust are providing funding for the following:- 
  • Drystone Walling (May & July – 14+);
  • British Wool Sheep Shearing (last weekend in June – 16 or 15+ with parental consent);
  • Introduction to Hedgelaying (October – 16+) and
  • NPTC/Lantra Basic Chainsaw Maintenance & Crosscutting (TBA shortly – 16+)
Teesdale Branch of the National Farmers Union are offering £4,000 of funding towards the cost of agricultural and farm related training courses, including diversified farm activities, at 50% of the cost, up to a maximum of £250, excluding VAT.   
They are asking interested trainees who have been NFU members for a minimum of two years, or are direct family members or employees, to register at the NFU Barnard Castle Group Office on 01833 638286. 
Once eligibility is confirmed by Peter Waistell, Group Secretary  trainees should approach training providers, such as UTASS to check training availability and explore what is available.  Once the agreed training has been completed, the NFU Office will require a receipted invoice from the trainer to reimburse the NFU member. 
Funding is still available for people aged 16+ living in the Teesdale area (during March ’21 several young people have applied to this fund for training prior to taking their Tractor Test and other upcoming training).
The funding not only provides the opportunity for unemployed people to undertake training, gaining specific skills, moving them closer and/or into employment, it enables people employed in low paid jobs to acquire new/additional skills, enabling them to progress in their career and/or gain additional/new employment.   The Discretionary element complements the project by removing barriers, preventing the clients accessing training, for example, travel, resources etc.   
Prospective new employers, looking to engage suitably qualified employees, could also benefit as they can direct potential employees towards the project, if they are lacking relevant qualifications.
In today’s climate, due to Covid, the need for this funding is vital, to be able to respond to the demands of specific training needs, where there is no mainstream funding available. 
For more information please contact Julia Stephenson at UTASS or Denise Hopps, Project Officer, Bishop Auckland College on 01388 443078 (Ext3502) or


NPTC Chainsaw training was held during week commencing 24th August 2020 for 4 trainees who accessed funding from Weardale Rural Skills Training at a Weardale venue.  Further details on WRST appear below and although our second round of funding has just finished, we hope it might be possible for a third round to run and there is still a link to an application form for funding which gives an idea of the course list.
This training was held at UTASS on Saturdays 1st & 8th February, 2020, for those aged 14+.  All nine trainees really enjoyed the training and left feeling much more confident to deal with an emergency situation.  Those attending included four young people from our Drop In, who asked for this training and had a particular interest in this topic for their career prospects.  They commented “Nearly everything I learnt was new and helped me.” “Yes, CPR and Defib” “I will use it (the knowledge & skills) if necesary and on my CV for future jobs.”
This training had been postponed a week, due to bad weather, so we had even more bad weather on Friday & Saturday 21 + 22 February, 2020 at Woodside Farm, near Middleton-in-Teesdale with 4 trainees attending, with thanks to Raby Estate and Edwin Wood for all their help.  Day one covered learning about hedgerows, health & safety and tool sharpening, mostly under cover and the second day was guided hedgelaying training. Burt Hunter, the trainer, commented “lads were great and showed heroic determination in venturing out in the teeth of driving rain and sleet”.  We’d also like to thank local contractor Paul Seedhouse for taking down the fence around the hedge and then reinstating it.  Without him donating his time and materials and working in such dreadful conditions, the course would never have happened – we are truly grateful.  Thanks too for the Durham Hedgerow Partnership for sponsoring this training.
LEVEL 2 FOOD SAFETY IN CATERING -Thursday, 27th February 2020 at The Pathway, Middleton-in-Teesdale, DL12 0SH 13 trainees attended this free training arranged by Denise Hopps of Bishop Auckland College.         
This course was held on 18th & 19th February, 2020 near Hamsterley with funding from TAP Upskilling, Employability and Discretionary Project.  We have two people waiting for the next course to be arranged (3 trainees needed). Please get in touch if you’d like to do this training – the usual cost is £350 but please see details above for possible funding from Teesdale’s Area Action Partnership’s TAP Upskilling Employability and Discretionary Project and below for the funding situation relating to Weardale Rural Skills Training for trainees in the Weardale area.  


NPTC Safe Use of Sheep Dip
Eight trainees successfully completed their online and dipper-side assessments to achieve this qualification in early December 2019.  A special thanks to Richard Betton and to Fiona Lovatt, supported by Mike Marron from Bimeda, who also sponsored the event, for their excellent training sessions.  Thanks too, to Fiona for arranging for Mike to come along to give the latest update on products, including reference to the latest sheep dipping information video on YouTube, which is full of useful facts and can be accessed by searching “Gold Fleece Sheep Dipping”.  Thanks too, to the Stobart family for providing the venue for the dipperside assessments and for their hospitality.
Managing Sheep Lameness & Responsible Use of Medicines with Supper provided.
This free Vet & Med session in UTASS, on Tuesday, 12th November, 2019 attracted 40 trainees who enjoyed 3 workshop sessions (photos below).  Massive thanks go to Fiona Lovatt for organising this event and to Erica and Luke from Castle Vets for delivering their workshop and also to Mike Hutchinson from MSD who kindly sponsored the event and provided the hot supper.  UTASS is so grateful!
Michael McGarry’s session giving expert guidance on Wills, Power of Attorney and Succession on Wednesday, 20th November, 2019 was attended by 20 community members who learnt a lot of useful information as well as enjoying the supper and social aspects.  Thank you to Michael for helping UTASS in this way.
Hefted to Hill – Following on from the much visited exhibition in July, Northern Heartlands provided a follow-up hot supper at UTASS on Wednesday, 27th November, 2019 when Ewan Allinson gave a short update on the project then the ever entertaining Howard Petch was the guest speaker, with 60+ people attending.
Funding for Weardale Rural Skills Training (funding closed 31.8.20)
This second round of funding from Weardale Action Partnership opened up opportunities to support the farming community, offering Lantra Abrasive Wheel Machines and more NPTC Certificates of Competence for the Transport of Livestock, NPTC Rough Terrain Telescopic and NPTC/Lantra Chainsaw. Those delivered previously and still on offer were British Wool Shearing, Car & Trailer Lessons, Emergency First Aid, NPTC Safe Use of Pesticides and NPTC Safe Use of Sheep Dip (held December 2019).  The last training delivered was the NPTC Level 2 Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross Cutting and Felling.
Please see below for a link to download an application form to give a bit more information about how the project ran, giving details of the participant contribution required relating to the last round.  We are hopeful that something similar might again be on offer in 2021.
BRITISH WOOL SHEARING COURSE 2019 – 19 trainees attended last year’s course at Hill House, Woodland, by kind permission of  John & Fay Hutchinson.  The two courses spanned over 5 days, due to wet weather.
Thanks too to Bill Mason and Brian Copeland for their encouragement and patience and it was excellent to see those who already know how to shear, wanting to learn more and coming along to improve their skills.  Eleven trainees benefited from funding from TAP’s Upskilling Fund (details below) and seven from WAP’s Weardale Rural Skills Training (see more info below).
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CANINE FIRST AID was delivered by Registered Veterinary Nurse, Helen Ward from Cleveland Canine First Aid on  23rd August 2019.  Those attending thoroughly enjoyed the course and if its of interest to you (cost £20 for the 2 hour course), please do get in touch and we’ll try to arrange the next date.
IAgSA BOOK KEEPING TRAINING held on 24th May, 2019 with 11 trainees.  A second “Minding Your Own Business” Workshop is now available for trainees to:
Understand Year End Accounts
Recognise Cropping Year -v- Financial Year
Produce Gross & Net Margins and identify the Cost of Production
Produce Cash Flow and Budget Reports
INTRODUCTION TO MINDFULNESS was held on 3rd September, 2019.  Thanks to everyone who came along to this session and especially to June Wainwright for delivering such a insightful, relaxing session.  June’s Yoga class (£20 for 6 weeks) starts again on Tuesday, 10th September from 6-7pm.  Please contact June on 07443 930 321 if you’d like further details.
CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management & Leadership and NVQ Level 5 In Management – with the first session of these monthly sessions over a year long programme being held at UTASS on Wednesday 21st November 2018.
Guidance Notes on Transporter Authorisations
UK animal transporter: application for type 1 authorisation
Lantra Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross Cutting
NPTC Safe Use of Veterinary Medicines
NPTC Level 2 Award In Safe Use of Sheep Dips
NPTC Rough Terrain Telescopic 
Lantra Abrasive Wheel Machines
NPTC Safe use of Pesticides
Rodenticides please call our Office to request a copy of the AHDB publication “Rodent Control on Farms” booklet with details of how to access on line training and Lantra assessment, if required.
NPTC Level 2 Award in the Transport of Animals by Road (Short Journeys)  – Cattle & Sheep are classed as one species. Although no training is required, those interested will receive information to prepare beforehand.  Qualification handbook 600/0306/6 states ”This qualification is aimed specifically at people transporting animals over 65Km and up to eight hours in duration, where the journey is in connection with an economic activity”.  COC Transport Animals by Road Schedule
The above qualification ties in with requirements for a business to apply for an Animal Transporter Authorisation for the above journeys, which is free of charge.  This Animal Health and Plant Agency application form needs to be completed and returned to the Welfare in Transport Team at Carlisle and can be obtained from UTASS, or by accessing the link above.
Thank you!
Grateful thanks for the team effort to make young people’s driver training possible and for helping young people achieve their vehicle driving ambitions.  In addition, the voluntary help from H & H Staff, community & UTASS Members is much appreciated, as well as from Middleton-in-Teesdale Mart for providing a venue for most of the Lantra Tractor Driving.