Next Steps Introductory Certificate Entry Level

Full Time 
1-2 Years 
Academic Year:
Awarding Body:
No examining body 
Course Cost 16-18
Registration Fee:
Additional Costs (approx):

About this course


What is Next Steps?

This programme provides a supported learning environment for young people making their next steps towards qualifications and employment. Next Steps is available at Entry Levels 1-3 and Level 1 for the Workskills and Workwise programmes. Students can make progress within Next Steps for up to 4 years (this can be extended if appropriate) before moving on to other courses or leaving college to do other things, including getting a job.

What do I need for this course?

No formal qualifications are required, but you will be assessed on basic maths and English skills. Places will be offered following a successful informal interview with one of the course leaders at the college.

Qualities and skills that you need for success on this course


Helping you get used to college

We understand that coming to college for the first time can be a bit scary. We can arrange for you to visit the college (as many times as you need) before you start the course, get to know the building and the staff and discuss the support you might want.

Course modules


Next step 1

Qualification: Diploma in Skills for Independence and Work at E1, E2, or E3

On this course you will develop employability skills, independent living skills and have an opportunity to try a vocational area from a wide range of options, including Construction, Health and Social Care, Horticulture, Hairdressing and Catering. As part of your course you will also improve your English and Maths skills.   

Next Step 2 - Workskills

Qualification: Certificate in Workskills at Entry 3 – Level 1

On this course you will further develop skills for work and be able to use these skills in a work placement at least one day a week.  You will also investigate the world of work and improve English, Maths and ICT skills.

Next step 3 - Workwise

Qualification: A Workskills qualification at a level to suit your progression needs

On this programme you will be able to spend most of the week in a work placement developing employability skills and gaining experience in the world of work.

How will I learn?


What support can you get on Next Steps?

  • All our Next Steps courses are taught in small group sizes (average of 8 students).
  • You will learn through practical sessions, classroom based activities, visits and practical work in the community
  • Your personal tutor will meet with you on a regular basis to review your progress with you.
  • We will help you plan your progression
  • Our team of Learning Support Assistants are here to give you as much support as you need in class. They can also support you out of class at break times and lunch times and even meet you on a morning when you arrive at college and be with you until you go home.
  • We have a friendly base room where you can go to spend time when you are not in lessons, and support staff are always there to make sure you are safe and enjoying your activities.
  • If you are doing a work placement on your course we will also make sure that you have support staff with you if you need it.
  • We will also help with funding where appropriate and available (up to the age of 25).

How will I be assessed?

You will put together a portfolio of all the work you have done. In addition you will complete assignments or tasks to show you have understood the work. You may have practical assessments in your vocational area.

What if I need support?

Here at the college we have outstanding support. Our support staff are dedicated to providing you with all the help and guidance you may need throughout your college journey. You might need help and advice on a wide range of issues such as childcare, counselling and additional learning support. For more information on any aspect of student support contact the Course and Information Team, who will direct your call to the appropriate member of the college support team, call: 01325 503030.




What can I do after this course?

The certificates are awarded at, Entry Level 2 and Entry Level 3. You may choose to progress up through these levels and then move onto a level 1 course in another vocational area in the college.

Lead Tutor

Andy Gilpin

The tuition fee is free if you are 16-18 years of age on August 31 of the calendar year in which you begin your studies. If you are 19 or over tuition fees will apply. Help may be available with fees, please ask. Government funding may be available through apprenticeship schemes. For further information on apprenticeships phone 01325 503210 (Business Development).

This course information page is a general guide to the course and every effort is made to ensure complete accuracy. The college reserves the right to make changes to curricular content where appropriate. The information given in this course leaflet does not impose on the college any obligation to provide, or continue to provide any courses, modules, or amenities described. The college reserves the right to cease to run a programme if insufficient students enrol.

Darlington College welcomes The Disability Discrimination Act (as amended by The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 – SENDA).

The college operates an equal opportunities policy. This information can be produced in other formats upon request. Please contact our Marketing Department on 01325 503046 or email