Big Skill 2009
The winners of Suffolk's Big Skill Awards were revealed on Wednesday 17 June at an evening hosted by BBC Sport's Ray Stubbs.
The award winners with Ray Stubbs*
The Big Skill Awards are all about having a go at something new and recognising people who have made big changes to their lives through learning.
Created by a partnership of BBC East and the Learning And Skills Council (LSC), the awards feature seven different categories and were open to anyone over the age of 14.
Sixteen people were shortlisted from the nominations and attended a ceremony in Ipswich.
The winner of the overall award for excellence, chosen from the winners of each category, was Michael Coe – who also won the Employer Commitment to Skills Award.
Michael runs The Entertainer toy shop in Ipswich, part of a national chain, but judges said he had "gone the extra mile to inspire his staff to improve their own levels of learning".
"His investment in his work force is remarkable and inspiring," they added. "Not only does this benefit his business, it provides his staff with a great grounding in their career – experience and qualifications. He is a true example of excellence in changing the lives of others through learning."
Michael Coe with Ray Stubbs
Judges also praised "impressive" 17-year-old Sadie Sibley, who won the 17-19 Learners Award.
"She has come an extremely long way in a short time and has made an impressive start on her learning and career path," they added.
After attending school infrequently, the Bury St Edmunds teenager enrolled on an Entry to Employment course in October last year, and has now achieved qualifications in numeracy, literacy and a City and Guilds employability award.
She is preparing for a foundation course in science in September, and hopes this will lead to a place on a forensic science course next year.
Laura Morgan, of Lowestoft, won the Adult Learner Award, and judges said she was "an inspiration" to fellow students, adding: "Her contribution to the college is absolutely incredible and phenomenal. She is a role model to all and goes the extra mile, acting as an inspiring voice for fellow learners."
Laura, 43, combines a Working in Travel qualification at Lowestoft College with looking after two children and her mother, who has health problems.
Since her course began in September 2007, Laura has shrugged off the trauma of having her house flooded twice, and was this year voted in a Chancellor of the Lowestoft College Student Congress.
She also attends college in her own time to mentor students, contributing to an improved course success rate.
The full list of winners is:
14 - 16 Learner Award
17 – 19 Award
Adult Learner Award
Skills for the Community Award
Skills for Work Award
Employer Commitment to Skills Award
The Learners’ Champion Award
Apprenticeship Awards 2009
BBC Suffolk staff learn something new
To promote the awards BBC Suffolk's presenters had a go at trying something new.
Mark Murphy and Graeme Mac
Rob Dunger started clarinet lessons, Lesley Dolphin learnt bell ringing, while on the James Hazell programme Shaz and Jim tried sensual massage live on air.
There was also touch of presenter rivalry as James and Luke Deal went head-to-head learning to drive a classic double decker bus at Bentwaters Parks.
And not one to be left out of the fun, Graeme "Spanners" Mac got greasy at Suffolk New College trying basic car maintenance.
last updated: 18/06/2009 at 10:49