Spotlight shines bright on special night for sector's finest talents

26th November 2010 at 00:00
The unsung heroes of FE were honoured at this year's STAR Awards presentation ceremony in central London, attended by John Hayes, minister for FE, skills and lifelong learning. The awards are supported by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, in partnership with The TES


Chris Kemp, 47, is deputy head of service at Middlesbrough Council Adult Education. Since he joined ten years ago, he has led all technology developments, which started with a virtual learning environment in 2005 and has developed into the Tees Learn Partnership Project.

This project won a Becta next generation learning award in 2009 and under Chris's leadership became one of Becta's exemplar providers, supporting nine organisations, including colleges and adult community services.

In 2010, Middlesbrough won a Becta next generation learning award. In his spare time, Mr Kemp enjoys sailing, walking, stamp collecting and watching Formula 1.


Andrea Greer, 38, is executive director of college services and responsiveness at Weston College in Weston-super-Mare.

After establishing a solid career basis with her own business in the recruitment and HR sector, she joined Weston College as a governor five years ago before becoming the director of staffing and students at the college in December last year.

She took on her new role in September.

A graduate in international business and modern languages, Andrea is married and living in Totnes, where she commutes daily - a round trip of 172 miles and three hours a day.


Sue Chattwood, 50, has been a tutor at Northern College, Barnsley, since 1999. The residential college gives adults the opportunity to return to education and achieve second time round. Sue works on various programmes, including Skills for Life and Access to HE Diploma.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, walking and last year started to learn acrylic and oil painting.


Sixty-nine-year-old Tessa Amies began her teaching career over 40 years ago. Initially she taught arts and crafts in schools in Somerset, but when she retired 10 years ago she moved to Devon and taught adult community lessons at Devon, Torbay and South Devon College.

Tessa is described as "remarkable, she quietly changes people's perception of learning".

Through her work with students such as learning disabled, physically disabled, older people with dementia and those with mental health issues, she has proved them to have high level skills.


Steve Murphy, 42, has spent the early part of his adult lift in the Ministry of Defence but 11 years ago changed career and trained as an assessor in stores and warehousing, working in the Learning Gateway programme and became morphed in Entry to Employment (e2e).

He now works in the Work Base Learning Department of City College Plymouth.

He began running Prince's Trust teams as a way of raising achievement.

He won a Star Award for 2007 Work Based Learning Practitioner, the City and Guilds Presidents award for developing the Profile of Achievements and was recognised by the LSC with a regional award for "inspiring others to learn".

In his spare time he likes live music, reading and supporting Plymouth Argyle.


Helen Wilcockson, 42, is a travel and tourism lecturer and course co-ordinator at South Nottingham College.

Ten years ago she visited Gambia where she was inspired by two charities. She offered her support to design their websites, and has since arranged student residentials where 250 students and 15 staff have visited the country.

The college has also sponsored 12 Gambians to come to the UK and attend the college.

There is now a travel and tourism college in the Gambia where Helen manages the curriculum and running of the college and provides teacher training.

In her spare time she enjoys music and dance, reading, socialising and travelling.


Patrick Condon, 47, is the procurement and legal services manager at Blackpool and The Flyde College.

He works to improve standards of procurement within the sector and getting colleges to collaborate with each other because he believes the benefits of involvement and learning from other colleagues offers invaluable experience.

Since joining the college 17 years ago, he has gone from being one of the first procurement officers in FE to representing his peers at a national level on the Procurement Advisory Group and the board of Crescent Purchasing Consortium.

Patrick was nominated by his line manager who recognised the time and effort he gives to others in FE.

Patrick spends his spare time walking, photographing wildlife, and travelling.


Viera Ferrar, 49, is a lecturer in mathematics at Barnet College in north London. She joined the college 14 years ago and has taken up training to become a learning development adviser at the institution.

In this role, Viera provides support for staff in preparing for lessons and helping them to extend their teaching styles and classroom management skills. She enjoys reading, gardening and used to walk and ski in Slovakia; more recently she has travelled to other countries in search of history.


Dennis Young, 70, is the oldest winner. Despite his age, he continues working full time at East Riding College, where he is a schools liaison and guidance officer.

He has worked at the college in Learner Services for 15 years, heading a team of guidance staff, college counsellors and Aimhigher co-ordinators. He also links to local schools to provide careers support and progression paths in FE.

He has also designed an "at risk" system which is an early intervention system to identify children who are in danger of dropping out of full-time education.

In his spare time he manages and coaches the local Rugby club. He also dabbles in oil painting.


Pat Byrne, 51, is the Employer Services Manager at West Cheshire College. She has been in her role for over two years, which follows 20 years in a family retail business.

She uses her contacts including commercial advisers, apprenticeship co-ordinators, workforce development delivery team and the administrative support within the area to gain recognition for the college.

Through work with Visit Chester and Cheshire, the Local Authority Licensing Department, and the NHS, the college ensures that employer's needs are met.

Pat enjoys skiing, running, cycling, watching Everton play and playing squash.

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