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The fingernail biting is over for thousands up and down the country, writes Jethro Marsh for FE News, and the votes and deliberations have been cast for the shortlist for the STAR Awards.

The finalists have now been informed of their successful progression through the rigorous assessment process. They have fought through some 1,339 individuals nominated this year, which takes the total number of nominees for the STAR awards since its inception to more than 7,000. The list has been filtered down to just over 170 nominees across the 17 prize categories, representing individuals who have made a difference in the lives of their learners and colleagues.

STARs

The STAR Awards are designed to raise the awareness of the successes and achievements within the sector, thus serving to raise morale and raise general public knowledge of the excellence that exists in post "“ 16 education and training. They are now within the remit of the Quality Improvement Agency (QIA) who were created in April 2006 to promote excellence in FE. The shortlist this year now features a total of 17 prize categories, with two new sections (for learner nominations and recognising collaboration with employers respectively).

To be considered for nomination for the Award, the nominees are obliged to work in an organisation in England that is neither a school nor a university and which enjoys at least partial funding from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The individuals who find themselves on the shortlist are invited to attend local events to celebrate their achievements, prior to the national ceremony at the QIA STAR Awards in London on the 30th of October 2006.

Support

The winners will be rewarded with prizes and certificates for taking part, including a trophy and certificate as well as a monetary prize of £2000 or £5000 for the winning team. Former learners in the FE sector, including such celebrity luminaries as Stephen Fry, Zandra Rhodes, Alan Titchmarch, Kim Wilde, Bruce Oldfield, Gary Rhodes and Michael Caines, all support the Awards ceremony.

The hard working Chief Executive of the QIA, Andrew Thompson, said: "Those who have been short-listed for a QIA STAR Award have made a difference to the lives of learners, to colleagues and to the sector. The announcement of the short list is a time when these people can be publicly recognised for their role in delivering the highest quality of education and training to millions of people in England. Each of these individuals truly deserves recognition."

It can sometimes seem that all that is heard of the public services in this country is a litany of woe. It is vitally important to providing a good service, and to improving the retention of both students and learners, and the best educators and trainers to work with them, that recognition is given to truly outstanding work in the sector.

Jethro Marsh

To visit the site that will list the short listed nominees, please click here!

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