From education to employment

Launching FE News Winners Week, we speak t

[On winning]

I was surprised and honoured. I was chuffed to bits ““ it wasn”t something I expected. I was actually really pleased to get down to the last ten.

I definitely work on a premise of thinking that the best way for young people to achieve is if they are having fun, so we try and have a laugh each and every day. We are in a professional environment but we try and make it a bit fun, a bit different, and to try and get out of the classroom environment. It is a great way of getting to know each other and to work on skills such as communication and self-esteem.

[On whether the awards undermine those who remain unrecognised]

I think it is really important that they do these kinds of things. With me winning it, for example, it does not undermine anybody I work with; my colleagues see it as “our award”, which of course it is. My name is on it, but I am part of a larger team in the workplace, and so it really is all of us who have won the award.

I think that if we don”t recognise people, eventually it will become an environment with too much negative feedback. I think positive feedback is really important; recognition is important. I know it has made a difference to me; in fact reaching the top ten made a difference to me. I think the recognition we get from young people is important, as is getting it from your colleagues and peers. I think the ceremony very much congratulated us as winners, but made it clear that they are representing the entire area of further education. We are just a good example of the good work that is going on in FE at the moment.

[On what he would like to see remedied in FE immediately]

I would like to see a little more control over the EMA [Education Maintenance Allowance] process. A bit more control at a local level so that we know and can anticipate the next payment, and more openness so that they know what is happening with the programme.

Within FE in general, I don”t think we promote ourselves in our towns and cities, and nationally, about all the good work we actually do, compared to schools and universities. I think we do extremely well but do not celebrate the fact enough: in terms of learner’s achievements and staff achievements.

Steve Murphy, Plymouth College of Further Education.

Winner: Outstanding Work-Based Learning Practitioner

Tomorrow: Robert Randall, Winner of the Outstanding Adult and Community Learning Practitioner award

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