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TIME TO RECOGNISE OUR HIDDEN STARS

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The millions of individuals currently involved in learning and skills in England can today publicly recognise those...
The millions of individuals currently involved in learning and skills in England can today publicly recognise those who inspire and encourage them to succeed, as nominations for the 2006 STAR Awards open.

The STAR Awards celebrates the work of the truly outstanding individuals and support teams in the learning and skills sector.

These hidden STARs, in their many varied roles, have a transformational effect on learners and colleagues alike, aiding social mobility and having a profound impact on the wider economy.

The sector is at the forefront of raising standards in education, narrowing the skills gap and developing our country's workforce.

There are hundreds of individuals working in the learning and skills sector - from workplace trainers, college managers and prison tutors, to administrators, learning and support workers and cleaners - who are doing sterling work. They can now be applauded for their contribution to society and the economy via a STAR Awards nomination.

STARs such as Clive Weston, Head of Construction at Accrington and Rossendale College and Kosser Choudry, a Community Outreach Worker from Maidenhead were selected as winners in 2005. Clive has successfully built relationships with a variety of different businesses and organisations at local, regional, national and international level and Kosser has developed and cultivated extensive links with the Muslim community within her local area, engaging a large number of traditionally disengaged learners, through programmes to improve their language skills, literacy and IT.

Bill Rammell, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education says:

'The contribution that frontline staff in the learning and skills sector make to our society and the economy is so great, that it is essential we acknowledge this and publicly thank inspirational individuals for their hard work and dedication.

Recognition is important too as it enables others to share good practice, thereby improving the quality and delivery of education, motivating learners and helping the workforce to compete internationally.'

Anyone can nominate a STAR. To be eligible nominees must work in the learning and skills sector, in an organisation, or an institution, which is at least funded partly by the LSC. Nominations for the STAR Awards can come from learners, managers, tutors and trainers and from workplaces all over the country including FE colleges, work-based providers, prisons, adult and community learning centres and UK online centres.

There are seventeen prize categories in 2006, including a new Learner's Choice Award and an award for Outstanding Work with an Employer. Winners will be chosen by an independent judging panel, and will receive a£2,000 cash prize, trophy and certificate. The winning team will receive a£5,000 cash prize, trophy and certificate.

Nominations can be made online at www.dfes.gov.uk/starawards or by calling the STAR Awards Helpline on 0800 652 0528 and requesting a nomination form.

Nominations close at midnight on 21 April 2006.

For more information, photography or to arrange an interview with winners from 2005, contact Jo Braier: 020 7299 8782 or joanna.braier@geronimocommunications.com

Notes

This press notice relates to 'England'.

1. Success for All, published in November 2002, announced the intention to develop an awards scheme for teachers, trainers, managers and support staff in the Learning and Skills sector. The DfES has worked with partners to develop Awards that recognise and celebrate excellence in different parts of the sector, and build upon the experience of existing schemes, such as the Adult Tutor Award.

2. The STAR Awards seeks to: recognise and celebrate achievement; raise the profile and morale of the people working in the sector; raise local and national awareness of the impact of the sector's work; identify good practice, and; raise standards.

3. To be eligible for a STAR Award, nominees must work in an organisation in England, which is not a school or university, and which is at least partly funded by the LSC.

4. In the past two years, 5,000 individuals have been recognised via nominations for the Awards scheme.

5. This year, the 17 prize categories include a newly introduced award for learner nominations and one to recognise work with employers.

6. The nomination period is open from Monday 30 January 2006 until midnight on 21 April 2006.

7. All nominations will also be considered for a Special Recognition prize, to be presented at the ceremony, which will reward good equality and diversity practice.

8. Independent judging panels will judge all nominations against the published criteria.

9. Sponsors in 2006 are: AoC, CeL, ConstructionSkills, IfL, learndirect, LLUK, LSC, LSN, Microsoft, NIACE, Protocol Training, QCA, Remploy, Tribal Group Plc, Unison.

10. Former learners in the sector, Stephen Fry, Alan Titchmarch, Kim Wilde, Bruce Oldfield, Gary Rhodes and Michael Caines all support the STAR Awards. Their statements are available, along with photography.

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