ROAD TO SUCCESS: Thomas Ward is all smiles after completing his training
ROAD TO SUCCESS: Thomas Ward is all smiles after completing his training

A GROUP of young people are on the road to a brighter future thanks to a driver-training project in upper Teesdale.
It was co-ordinated by Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) and with funding from the Wellesley Trust via the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
The project was launched after a number of young people applied for support with various driving skills, including car lessons, trailer lessons, pre-tractor test training, British Offroad Driving Association quad bike training or Lantra 13-15 tractor driving.
In all, a grant of £6,840 from the Wellesley Trust Fund covered the costs of training for 26 young people.
Julia Stephenson, training co-ordinator at Utass, said: “We are so grateful that this funding has continued to provide vital support with driver training despite the impacts of Covid-19.
“The need to travel for work and other training is a huge challenge for young people living in our rural areas and this project has helped remove this barrier for an amazing number of young people this year, empowering them with additional knowledge and skills and opening up opportunities further afield.
“By the beginning of October almost all trainees had received their individual car driving lessons, all of the car and trailer lessons had been completed and four trainees had achieved their day of accredited quad bike training,” she added.
“Two days of Lantra 13-15 Tractor Driving were held in February, which was very fortunate, as we’ve not been able to arrange any more of this training since. However, we plan to deliver the remaining tractor driving training in the New Year, with the remaining car lessons being delivered very shortly.”
One of the trailer trainees, Thomas Ward, said: “I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me.
“The knowledge and skills I have gained will allow me and my business to grow.
“I am now able to successfully expand my fencing part of the business as I can attend using my pickup and trailer.”
Another trailer trainee added: “It definitely helped me pass my test and was good to revise my knowledge on general road and driving safety.
“I think it’s a great opportunity and has definitely helped me and many others.”
One car driving trainee said: “The funding I received through Utass was much appreciated and a great help towards the cost of learning to drive, especially during this last difficult year when I had two cancelled tests and an enforced break resulting in the need for extra lessons.
“I have since continued my training and very recently passed my trailer test.”
Pete Barrett, senior programme advisor at the Community Foundations Tyne and Wear & Northumberland said: “he foundation is pleased to support Utass through the Wellesley Trust Fund.
“This is exactly the kind of project the fund likes to support, as we understand the importance of ensuring young people have the skills to work and live within their own communities helping those communities to thrive.”
For further information on future driver training opportunities available or to discuss other training needs contact Julia Stephenson at Utass on 01833 641010 or email