Skip to main content

Geoff shows 'em the ropes

New award targets post-16 workers who have made a difference to the lives of learners, Martin Whittaker reports

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


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

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you