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Simon Sharratt, Support Staff of the Year for the Aspiration Awards, shares his story

NCFE Aspiration Awards finalist Simon Sharratt with Steven Spence, Assistant

A Digital and E-Learning Coordinator has won a prestigious national award for his innovative contributions to enhancing educational experiences through technology.  

Simon Sharratt from The Sheffield College has been presented with Support Staff of the Year as part of the education charity and awarding organisation NCFE’s Aspiration Awards – honouring learners, educators and organisations across the UK. 

In the rapidly evolving landscape of education, the role of technology has become increasingly central to teaching and learning, and Simon places this at the root of everything he does. His journey working for The Sheffield College began as an expert in educational technology, but he quickly established himself as much more than this.  

Simon’s ability to understand the needs of modern educators and learners, combined with his technical skills, has made him an invaluable asset to the college. Since beginning his role, he’s helped to revolutionise ed-tech at the college through supporting the professional development of fellow educators through his innovative coding skills and designing and implementing innovative teaching and learning solutions.  

He said: “It’s an honour to have won this national award given that the role of technology is becoming increasingly central to teaching and learning. To be working on the cutting edge of a rapidly evolving landscape within education and helping students and staff to develop their skills is extremely rewarding.” 

Simon has made complex technological tools accessible and beneficial to staff and learners and implemented the use of virtual reality (VR) to enhance teaching, learning, and assessment. For example, using VR with health and social care learners to interact with patients in virtual health suites. 

Introducing gamification in science to enable retrieval practice, consolidate learning, and gather feedback is another of Simon’s innovative practices, and he has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) Essentials Training programme for staff to ensure they have the knowledge and understanding. 

Simon’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact that a dedicated individual can have on the lives of many staff and learners, and his multitude of contributions to the college have earned him the deserving title of Support Staff of the Year. 

Brian Queen, Head of Customer Service and one of the award judges, said: “It was great to read about Simon’s contribution to improving the educational experience for staff and learners, through innovation using technology and by stepping above and beyond the normal expectations of his role to focus on making things easier and more efficient for staff.  

“The creation of innovative ‘hubs’ where creativity, collaboration, and learning for staff and learners has been cultivated is a fantastic example of this. What really came through from the nomination was Simon’s work ethic, ability to look at things differently, and to come up with creative and collaborative solutions to allow his colleagues to focus more on educating and inspiring learners.” 

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