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Business & Economy

Education Partnership North East colleges celebrate outstanding colleagues

The hard work and dedication of staff across Education Partnership North East was celebrated at the group’s annual Evolve Awards.

Employees from Hartlepool Sixth Form, Northumberland College and Sunderland College attended a virtual ceremony to honour their colleagues across seven categories including Teacher of the Year, Local Community Champion and Unsung Hero.

Education Partnership North East chief executive Ellen Thinnesen hosted the event, which was broadcast live via Microsoft Teams on May 26.

Ahead of the awards, staff members were invited to submit their nominations with a reason why their chosen staff member is so deserving. A panel of judges then drew up a shortlist for each award with the winners chosen through an online all staff vote.

The Above and Beyond Award was the first honour presented and was won by Sunderland College’s Salon Professionals Team for their commitment to helping more than 200 students complete their qualifications by embracing digital technology to deliver live demonstrations at home during lockdown, while hairdressing lecturer Lesley Mysleyko picked up Teacher of the Year.

Executive director of capital projects and estates Steve Brown, who has led on several ambitious multi-million pound projects and capital builds, most notably the redevelopment of Ashington and Kirkley Hall campuses, collected the Excellence in Leadership award; city campus’ travel and tourism team and their students’ appeal for Norah’s North Pole in December, which saw hundreds of toys donated to local children for Christmas, was recognised with the Local Community Champion prize; and access to higher education lecturer Monica Pizzoli was presented with the All Star Values Award.

Quality, teaching, learning and assessment manager Nenagh Clark won Bright Spark Innovation for her impact on the introduction of a project based learning approach as well as being the operational lead for a Ford Next Generation Learning programme; the directions learning mentor support team were recognised for their Outstanding Contribution in providing ‘stellar support’ to the most vulnerable students; front of house administrator Lisa Maddison (pictured) scooped Support Employee/Team of the Year; and catering assistant Alison Day was named Unsung Hero.

The Chief Executive’s Award, given to those who consistently demonstrate the group’s values while ensuring students receive the best possible experience throughout their time at college, went to animal care instructor Brooke Nisbet, bricklaying lecturer Graham Charlton and beauty therapy lecturer Leanne Grethe (all Northumberland College); sociology lecturer Rosie Barnard (Hartlepool Sixth Form); and the group’s directions team who have helped students with significant barriers to learning flourish and achieve during the most challenging of circumstances.

Following the ceremony, Ellen Thinnesen, said: “The Evolve Awards bring our colleagues together from across our many college campuses, to honour the brilliant work they do and celebrate their invaluable contributions.

“Employee recognition has never been more important, especially over this past year where staff have excelled in the most challenging of circumstances. It is vitally important we take time to recognise their amazing accomplishments. I’m delighted we received a large volume of nominations, and I am very proud of all of our nominees.

“Thank you to each person who took time to celebrate and vote for so many colleagues. Congratulations to all who were nominated, this is great recognition of the fantastic work you do every day, and a special well done and congratulations to all of our winners.”

The Evolve Awards is one of several Education Partnership North East events which celebrate the excellence, dedication and innovation of staff, alongside ‘Campus Hero of the Month’ and the Long Service Awards which honour staff who have achieved 20, 30 and 40 years’ service with the organisation.