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Chance to nominate a Star worker

Simon Couth has been much in demand since he became one of 17 winners of a learning and skills "Oscar" last October.

"A lot of people have contacted me asking me to come and give talks, and the spin-off publicity has been really good," he said.

Mr Couth won his Star Award for outstanding, innovative work in developing education and training in the media at Grimsby institute of further and higher education. "It's nice to get a bit of recognition," he said.

Now it's your chance to nominate a colleague for the 2006 Star Awards - nominations open on January 30 and close on April 21.

The awards, now in their third year, were launched by the Government to boost morale in FE. It is much broader than the national teaching awards for schools as they honour support staff and volunteers as well as lecturers and tutors.

So far, the awards have recognised over 5,000 people from college managers to prison tutors and administrators. FE minister Bill Rammell said: "The Star Awards recognise the very finest individuals. The contribution of these 'unsung heroes' to people's lives is central to the Government's drive to improve standards in the sector."

One of last year's winners was Yvonne Smith, a prison librarian who won an award for outstanding learner support.

Ms Smith has spearheaded adult literacy programmes at Leeds prison, and leads the Once Upon A Time project which allows inmates to read, edit and record a children's story, which is sent to their families.

She said winning an award has brought great benefits. "It's good for your self-esteem," she said. "Everybody's really pleased when a colleague wins something, especially in this sector.

"We don't always get a lot of recognition for the work that's done in prisons."

For further information about nominating a colleague please visit the STAR Awards website www.dfes.gov.ukstarawards or call the helpline on 0800 652 0528

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