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Issue:- 11 November 2010


NOMINATIONS are now open for the Adult Learners’ Week Awards 2011, giving you the chance to give someone you know - a friend, a relative, a colleague or someone you teach - the recognition they deserve for their outstanding learning achievements. Every year, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) receives around 1,500 nominations from colleges, workplaces and other adult education providers and 2011 will be extra special as it is the 20th Adult Learners’ Week.

The Adult Learners’ Week (14 May to 20 May 2011) Awards recognise extraordinary individuals who have had inspirational learning journeys that have helped them transform their lives, often beyond what they ever thought was possible. The Awards are also given to learning projects that give adults the opportunity to learn and improve their lives. The impact from winning an award is demonstrated by some of this year’s winners:

Carol Hilton, aged 46, from Lincolnshire, said:- “Winning an award was brilliant, I’ve never won anything before and it’s given me confidence in myself. I’m now surviving in a very busy A & E department as a qualified nurse, which is a dream come true.”

Herbert Goredema, aged 34, from Hampshire, said:- “Winning an award has made me want to keep achieving more and more and it has made it easier for me in my application for postgraduate study. My experience has also motivated my work colleagues into further education.”

Sayra Wigglesworth, aged 32, from Leeds, said:- “Besides having my daughter, winning this award was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had, truly amazing! I now feel really proud of myself and have shown others that you can change your own life and make a difference to others.”

Stephen Shepherd, aged 58, from Nottingham, said:- “My achievement has proved that being visually impaired didn’t stop me from being able to win an award. Since winning I have taken on the role of Secretary for the Nottingham branch of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.”

Gill Pinnock, aged 40, from Leicester, said:- “Winning this award made my family feel proud and my team at work realise that if you work hard you can get results. At work I am now recognised as someone who pushes myself and wants to succeed. I’m a strong believer that learning can change your life for the better.”

Bob Wells, aged 49, from Carshalton, said:- “I felt extremely honoured and proud to win this award, after being called thick and stupid. Since winning I have also been accepted onto a plumbing course.”

Christine Weetman, aged 40, from Ely, said:- “This award helped me get my new job as a Project Manager for a web design company. I have no qualifications in computers, but my new boss believes in me and so do I.”

Marshall Tolley, aged 59, from Essex, said:- “Winning an award was like a sunburst in a sky of cloud. It has given me the chance to further my career and to do something I am now passionate about and that I can promote to others.”

Yetunde Adeola, aged 39, from Gravesend, said:- “Winning gave me more encouragement and the courage to take up a bigger challenge. I now have a project that provides community training, group counselling and job clubs.”

Kris Brown, aged 31, from Northumberland, said:- “Winning an award changed the way I look at things. I now look at things as a winner and it makes me happy that all my family and friends are proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Richard Crabb, from the Adult Learners’ Week team at NIACE, said:- “Every year the nominations we receive include some of the most remarkable and inspirational stories you’re ever likely to hear. They are about adults who take it upon themselves to transform their lives through learning, achieving qualifications they never thought they’d get, discovering more about the world or a subject they’ve since become devoted to or getting their lives back on track. Learning has been the key to their brighter future.”  He continued:- “The Adult Learners’ Week awards celebrate their remarkable achievements, giving them the recognition they deserve. And, in turn, the winners become powerful and inspirational role models, encouraging thousands of others to take up learning. So, if you know an outstanding adult learner, nominate them for an Adult Learners’ Week Award.”

All awards categories are open to learners living in England only. The closing date for nominations is 5pm, Friday, 28 January 2011. NIACE are also looking for winners of the previous Adult Learners’ Week Awards, as they will form part of the 20th Adult Learners’ Week 2011 celebrations.

For more information about how to nominate for Adult Learners’ Week Awards 2011 or about the 20th Adult Learners’ Week celebrations, visit:-, email, or phone the NIACE Adult Learners’ Week Team on 0116 204 4200.

You cal also visit:- to nominate people.

For the 20th Adult Learners’ Week will also be awarding the following special awards:-

► a Digital Participation Award - sponsored by the BBC;

► an Apprentice of the Year Award – sponsored by Pearson International;

► a Community Learning Champions Award; and

► the Baroness Eaton ‘Young Adult Learners of the Year Award’.

Business owners sceptical over Coalition’s ability to cut red tape

MANY small business owners doubt the new Government’s ability to free them from the shackles of red tape, according to new research.  A study by the not-for-profit Forum of Private Business found that just 28% of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) believe the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition will make a noticeable difference to the rules and regulations they face.

A sizeable 40% of respondents said they did not think the Coalition will significantly reduce the amount of legislation small firms have to comply with. The remaining 32% on the Forum’s Red Tape research panel said they did not know whether or not the Government would achieve its stated aim of regulation reduction.

Many Forum members on the panel also submitted comments outlining why they doubted the Coalition’s ability to cut red tape. The main reason given was the historical failure of similar initiatives in the past but an overwhelming 89% of those surveyed said they felt that legislators do not understand how regulations affect small employers.

Others claimed that civil servants and other policy-makers would get in the way of Tory attempts to streamline UK workplace law. The Government’s reliance on the leaders of large corporations for advice on business regulation was also a concern.

The Forum’s research manager, Thomas Parry, said:- “Traditionally, there’s always been a lot of support for the Conservative party among small business owners, so you would expect them to have a fair amount of faith in the Coalition’s pledge to cut red tape.  However, it would appear that many small firms feel as though we are now past the point of no return with legislation – there’s a sense that because there’s so much of it and it’s so deeply embedded in our legal framework, any attempts to tackle it are doomed to failure.  The level of change required – around a 50% reduction in terms of the time business owners spend on completing forms – is unlikely to be met without a radical rethink of legislation”.

Other findings from the Forum’s Red Tape panel included:-

► Employment law emerged as the area of most concern among the business owners surveyed. In particular, respondents said they wanted to see more simplicity, certainty and consistency in the legislation governing treatment of employees.

► The regulations surrounding taxation appeared to be the second biggest concern for SMEs, with a high volume of firms calling for the time and costs they spent on tax-related issues to be reduced.

► Overall, the complexity of business legislation proved most controversial among Red Tape panel members.

► Environmental legislation was seen as overly complex but overall less problematic than other areas of legislation.

Additionally, many businesses on the panel said they concentrated on ensuring they followed what they considered to be best practice in the workplace, rather than simply aiming to fulfil their legal obligations.  Some pointed out that with large sections of the legal framework untested in a court of law, it was more practical option for them to adhere to what they considered to be best practice, rather than trying to understand and interpret ambiguous areas of the law.

Comments submitted by Red Tape panel members included:-

“I don't think they (policy-makers) really think it through. They are paid to create new legislation and need to justify their jobs.”

“Cut as much regulation as possible and just issue companies with a book of best practice so managers and owners are aware of their responsibilities but do not have to operate under such a threatening atmosphere.”

“The current Conservative Government, before being diluted by Liberals, promised to make a bonfire of onerous and pointless legislation. This needs to happen to free up companies in this country.”

The Forum’s Red Tape panel is one of a number of focused research groups run by the not-for-profit support organisation.

The panels are designed to provide in-depth and contemporaneous research on specific issues affecting smaller businesses. Others include Economy Watch, the Health and Safety panel and the Tax and Budget panel.

The Forum carries out research on behalf of its members as part of its Communications Director business support solution – one of eight solutions designed to provide products and services to cover every aspect of running an SME.

More information can be found at:-

Her Benny heads to Crosby

MERSEYSIDE based Anne Dalton, who is an award winning writer and director of the hit Merseyside musical 'Her Benny' is getting ready for a new round of the production which opens in Crosby this Christmas. Her Benny is a rags to riches tale set on the Liverpool docks during the Victorian era. Described by critics as a high energy, feel good family musical- it's guaranteed to make audiences laugh, cry and rejoice. It features beautiful original ballads, rousing dance numbers and stunning choreography. Her Benny is at the Crosby Civic Hall between 13 December to 24 of December 2010. It stars Johnny Kennedy, a North West radio legend as Joe Wragg. Operatic star Julie Davitt as Sally Wragg and from BBC Radio Merseyside Andy Mac and Neil Newton, as the prostitute and rag seller respectively!

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