Education and training projects come and go and sometimes they carry the overblown description "flagship". But how many can actually head out into the Irish Sea under full sail?
The Zebu can. Originally built in 1938 for the Baltic timber trade, this beautiful 110-foot two-mast tall ship has been restored to her former glory and is now moored at Liverpool's Albert Dock.
The Flagship Project has trained hundreds of people on Merseyside in traditional and modern maritime skills by recruiting teams of volunteers to refit the ship. Now Geoff Hanley, the man behind the project, has won recognition by being among the first to be nominated for a Star Award - the new "Oscar" for the unsung heroes of the learning and skills sector. The awards were launched last year by Education Secretary Charles Clarke, to boost the morale of the post-16 sector. They are managed by the Department for Education and Skills, and The TES is media sponsor. Anyone working in the sector who is considered to have made a difference to the lives of learners can be nominated. A shortlist of 130 finalists has now been drawn up to attend a glittering Star Awards ceremony in London on October 12.
From these finalists, 13 prize category winners will be announced and will be awarded pound;1,000, a trophy and a certificate.
Geoff Hanley, learning leader with the Flagship Project on Merseyside, said: "I was a workshop supervisor before I began work at the project, so being short-listed for this award would have been difficult to imagine.
"It shows how profoundly learning can change people's lives - my own, my learning team who achieved outstandingly and all those who will find new horizons through the project in the future.
"It is very refreshing to know that those of us who quietly get on with our jobs and do the best for the students in our care can get recognised."
The Zebu had fallen into disrepair after sailing 69,000 miles as the flagship of the international youth expedition Operation Raleigh. Mr Hanley had to learn rigging and ship maintenance skills from scratch and then teach them to the project's volunteers. He now runs the Sea Academy for Merseyside aboard the Zebu, offering life skills, personal development and practical skills training.
Susan Hanley-Place of Mersey Heritage Trust which nominated him for a Star Award, said: "He could turn his hand to virtually anything. He had to learn rigging skills and develop and train a whole team of people around him. It was a huge task."
Another Star Award nominee is Jenny Gauden, a housing support worker with the Foyer@Croydon, a charity which works to break the cycle of homelessness with young people.
Jenny has worked tirelessly to develop a Profile of Achievement Award with Newham College, designed to help the charity's tenants back into study, training or work.
She recently helped one tenant realise his dream by accompanying him on a sponsored parachute jump. "That's what we call above and beyond the call of duty," says Rosemary Porter, Foyer@Croydon's deputy manager, who nominated Jenny. "We have several tenants who have finished their profile of achievement with Newham College. And a lot of that has been down to Jenny co-ordinating it all."
John Dryden, a lecturer in performing arts at Chichester College, has been shortlisted for the category FE Tutor of the Year. He has over 30 years experience as an actor and director in professional theatre, TV and film.
Many of his students have progressed on to universities, RADA and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
John was nominated by colleague Sue Machado, who said he had turned down promotion to a key management post because it would have taken him away from teaching. "He's a real student person," she says. "He takes on board far more than his job description demands from him. He's very interested in the students' progression routes, not just their qualification that he's responsible for when they're at college, but what they're going to do with it afterwards."
Mr Dryden said: "It is my students who are the real stars and I am proud and delighted on their behalf."
One of the shortlisted nominees for Offender Tutor of the Year is Ann Ellis, who is employed by Strode College in Somerset to teach inmates at Dartmoor prison. She prepares them for applications to university on their release, and co-ordinates Open University courses as well as extra-curricular programmes including music and poetry workshops.
Julie Livingston, the prison's head of learning and skills, said: "Ann is extraordinarily hard working. She gives generously of her time over and above the call of duty and she's very modest.
"I feel that she needs to be recognised as a highly valued member of the teaching staff."
For details of the Star Awards see www.dfes.gov.ukstarawards
STAR AWARDS SHORTLIST
E - Learning Worker of the Year sponsored by Microsoft
Askander Akram UK Online Centre, Rotherham Library
Wayne Bradley Perkins Shibaura Engines Limited
Gary Clark Portsmouth Foyer
Steven Hargraves Dingle Online
Kate Johnson PS People Specialists
Catherine Karim International Learning Centre
Afsheen Lodhi UK Online Centre, Slough
Orileke Mabo learndirect, Brixton Library
Alan Magson Age Concern
Angela Sloman Bilborough Learning Centre
Adult amp; Community Learning Tutor of the Year sponsored by NIACE
Nadia Ainsworth Bucks Adult Learning
Julie Brick Bury Lifelong Learning Service
Angela Spencer Tameside Council
Geraldine Wriglesworth Wakefield Community Centre
Work-Based Learning Trainer of the Year sponsored by ALP
Julie Bromwich North Middlesex Hospital
Bev Clarke Eden Training
Lawrence Cramer South Central Trains
Alan Davies ProCo NW Ltd.
Terry Gater Rockware Glass Limited
Mary Moss SEETEC
Colin Rayner The British Racing School
Jane Sharpe Sheffield Trainers Ltd.
Farzad Spehri HCTC Ltd.
Jackie Webster HCTC Ltd.
SKILL Award for Staff Supporting Students with Learning Difficulties andor
Disabilities sponsored by Sight amp; Sound
Lyn Garside Galloway's Society for the Blind
Nicola Hayton Bridge college
Joy Mosley Exeter college
Karen Richardson West Kent college
Pauline Rose Disability Resource Centre
Jenny Wilson Lewisham College
Caroline Wooton Nottingham Royal Society for the Blind
Offender Tutor of the Year sponsored by AoC
Val Adams HMP Manchester
Benedict Butler HMP Norwich
Ann Ellis HMP Dartmoor
Award for BasicKey Skills Tutor of the Year sponsored by Protocol Training
Angela Maloney Solihull college
Carola Perales The Elfrida Society
John Turner TBG Learning
Further Education Tutor of the Year sponsored by FENTO
Les Atkinson Darlington college of Technology
Pamela Bradford Weymouth college
Kathryn Downs Bolton Community college
John Dryden Chichester college
George Frame Wakefield college
Richard Gillis City of Westminster college
Nigel Greenwood Bedford college
Steven Greensmith City college Norwich
Denise Hardy Red amp; Cleveland college
Sister Marika Redbridge college
Deane McQueen Leicester college
Mark Powell Isle of Wight college
Tony Rayner Peterborough Regional college
Guilia Shepherd Macclesfield college
Barry Shufflebotham Matthew Bolton college
Richard Spencer Bede college
Annie Townend New College Pontefract
Nicky Turnbull Newcastle college
Jean Vosper Weston college
Jan Whiskerd Stroud college of FE
John Wightman Stockton Sixth Form college
Isabel Willcock Hull college
Gill Wilson North Lindsey college
Award for Cross Sector Good Practice sponsored by Institute for Learning
Wendy Moss City Lit
Jane Mossman Basingstoke college of Technology
Peter Walker Support into Work - learndirect Centre
Award for Outstanding Management of Learning sponsored byCentre for
Excellence in Leadership
Leigh Allen Xcession Cybercaffe
Ellen Carling WEA Manchester
Geoff Hanley The Flagship Project
Rose Heaton A1 Community Works
David Hopwood Newcastle-under-Lyme college
Jill Kitchenham Jamp;E Training
Angela McConville Queens Park New Media Centre
Bhavna Mehta Birmingham Adult Education Service
Anne Morahan HMIRC Dover
Lauretta Rowlinson Greenwich Community college
Mary Schramm Merton college
Caroline Tams Focus Training
Award for Outstanding Learning Support sponsored by learndirect
Bill Bode Drum Community Media
John Ellis Newbury Library
Sharon Fox Sheffield college
Jennifer Gauden Foyer@ Croydon
William Gowlett Epping Forest college
Sarah Griffiths Plymouth College of FE
Sarah Maddock Ashton under Lyne Sixth Form college
Barbara Richards Broadland Council Training
Paul Warde Bury Lifelong Learning Service
Outstanding Support other than Learning sponsored by UNISON
Mike Abbott Peter Symonds College
Doreen Alderson Wensleydale Community Learning Centre
Anne Booth Weston college
Elaine Buchan Stourbridge college
Terri Capp Melville amp; Brompton Community Association
Ann Cowgill Craven college
Rita Dacre Potential 2000 Ltd.
Trevor Deedman Haswell UK on line
Sameer Eliyas Loughborough college
Shewa Hagos Lewisham college
Sarah Hayde The British Racing School
Alex Richards Totton college
Deborah Searles St. Charles Catholic Sixth Form college
Pam Shaw Bolton Community college
Pamela Stanford-Cave Asset Training
Ed Thomas Leicester college
Theresa Vincent HCTC
Award for Outstanding Leadership sponsored by Centre for Excellence in
Mick Cooper Norwich City college
Ann Griffiths Telford College of Arts amp; Technology
Carl Groves Fareham college
David Heaton Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form college
John Keenan Merton college
Daniel Khan The Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education
David Linnell John Leggott college
Marilyn Parry Worcester City Council
Diane Travis HCTC
Belinda Turner Stubbing Court Combined Training Group
Award for Outstanding Achievement sponsored by LSDA
Steve Adams Holloway Bus Garage
Lyn Bensted Tower Hamlets college
Gordon Budd South Devon college
David Cotton City College Brighton amp; Hove
Ann Cowgill Craven college
Heather Curtis Nottingham Dyslexia Association
May Dare The Community college (Shoreditch)
Madeline Day Bexhill college
Abdellatif Erraoui Bourneville college
Terry Gater Rockware Glass
Patricia McGeough The Community college (Hackney)
Richard Singleton The Unique Coffee Bar
Angela Spencer Tameside Council Learning
Richard Trevarthen Brooksby Melton college
Jean Vosper Weston college
Terri Wilcocks Farnborough 6th Form colleg