Colleges and other learning providers are being urged to put forward their best or most improved photography students for a competition in the run-up to the event. The winner will get a three-day work experience placement at The TES and have the option to photograph the Star Awards ceremony in London in October and produce a photo-diary for the awards website.
The Star awards were launched two years ago to create a feelgood factor for the learning and skills sector. The awards honour the unsung heroes of the sector, including those in colleges, adult and community learning and training in the workplace.
Last October, the first 13 winners walked up the red carpet to receive their awards. But as well as recognising staff, the evening was also a showcase for learners' achievements.
Students taking part included members of Exeter college Big Band and a fashion show by students from Croydon college.
Four students from Thomas Rotherham college helped to welcome guests and showed the then Education Secretary Charles Clarke around the showcase.
Giles Pepler, a member of the judging panel and principal of Thomas Rotherham college, said the students were pleased with the recognition. He added: "They were impressed with the range of activity on show that demonstrated the breadth and depth of learning in post-16 education, and felt that they too wanted to acknowledge their Star teachers and support staff."
This year, the awards have been extended to cover under-represented areas such as the voluntary sector, and recognise teamwork and innovative practice. There are five new prize categories and the prize money for each winner has doubled to pound;2,000.
A spokesperson for the Star Awards said the event is about more than recognising those working in the learning and skills sector, adding:"We want to show why these individuals are worthy of recognition and the impact they have on learners and colleagues. We want this year's awards to be an even bigger celebration of staff and learners' achievements."
The photography competition is open to any student currently in the learning and skills sector. Each student should send in three photographs capturing the theme of "the learning experience".
The closing date for entries is June 24 and photos will be judged on how they fit the theme, originality and quality. One winner will be announced in July.
Photographs should be sent in jpeg format at 300 dpi; email: firstname.lastname@example.org details of the entrant's tutor, course and college or learning provider. Entrants should also send up to 50 words explaining how their photos fit the theme. These words will not be judged but will be used to put the photos in context. For more details see: www.dfes.gov.ukstarawardsnewsindex.cfm