In from the cold
For principal Daniel Khan, winning an award has done far more than celebrate the success of his college - he believes the national profile it brings is also good for Grimsby.
"As an individual, it's nice to win an award, but I always ask what the longer term benefits are? What is the impact on the community?" says Daniel, who collected an award for Outstanding Leadership in recognition of his vision, energy and commitment.
"We're very pleased that it's Grimsby as we're not one of the big city centre colleges. Sometimes people in this area feel that they are out on a limb, so it's a good feeling that we have won this award."
Grimsby institute is a large general further education college and the main higher education provider in north-east Lincolnshire. The college has four centres of vocational excellence - media, plumbing and gas, logistics and food manufacture. The latter two sectors are large local employers.
An inspection of the college by Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate in November 2003 found that five curriculum areas were good and four were satisfactory, with one area, media, declared outstanding.
Daniel took over the reins at the college in 2001 following a career in which he has moved between industry and education. Experience, he says, has proved invaluable for liaising with employers in Grimsby.
Born in Trinidad, he moved to England after training as an accountant. In 1982 he moved into education and training, working for the University of London before becoming deputy principal in charge of finance and business development at York College.
He believes the awards are a positive step for the learning and skills sector. "From my perspective it has lifted the profile of the sector, and anything that publicises it, whether it's a leadership award, tutor of the year, or for support, it raises people's awareness that many learners do get their education in the FE sector."
"There has been a drive throughout the public sector to develop good leadership, and that's not just the individual at the top of the organisation. It's not a static set-up. The organisation is the students in FE who use us to further their development needs in skills and training.
And from that perspective, if an organisation is better led then the benefit goes down to the community. That's how I view these awards."
STAR AWARD WINNER
Name: Daniel Khan. Job: Principal and chief executive of Grimsby institute of further and higher education. Winning category: Award for Outstanding Leadership, sponsored by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership