In the awards' second year, more than 3,400 staff and students were involved in making 1,585 nominations. From these, more than 150 nominees have now been shortlisted for awards in 16 categories.
The nominees will find out whether they have won at a glittering ceremony on October 11.
Announcing the shortlist, Bill Rammell, minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education, said the awards recognise the finest individuals who work in the vastly diverse learning and skills sector. He said: "They deliver or support delivery of the highest quality learning to millions of people in England every day - people who work in further education colleges, work-based learning providers, prisons, adult and community learning centres and UK online centres.
"They have until now gone about their business as unsung heroes. They truly deserve recognition and have made a real difference."
Mr Rammell and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes announced the Star Awards shortlist this week at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London.
The awards were set up by the Government to boost morale in the post-16 sector by celebrating its heroes. The TES is the awards' media sponsor.
Sixteen prize winners will be announced at the ceremony.
Winners in each category take home a pound;2,000 cash prize, a trophy and a certificate. There is also pound;5,000, a trophy and a certificate in a new award for the most outstanding team.
Shortlist: www.tes.co.ukMore information: www.dfes.gov.ukstarawards