Support staff provide the backbone to education across Cumbria
Support staff are a key cog in helping any successful school or college run smoothly and making sure our youngsters get the best education possible.
Their importance to students and leaders alike is never in question with Cumbria's legion of support staff carrying out a range of key roles in the classroom and in the back office.
From the secretary and caretaker to teaching assistants, caterers and finance experts, there are a large number of people who work behind the scenes to ensure that others can get on with the main business of delivering good quality teaching and learning.
Lakes College West Cumbria recognises the importance of such fine backroom figures.
Its support staff play a vital role in the day to day running of the Lillyhall campus, helping to make the experience for students the best it can possibly be.
College leaders are once again throwing their weight behind The Golden Apple Awards, brought to you by CN Group, and sponsoring the Best Support Staff category.
Judges will sift through the entries and shortlist finalists.
The award will be presented to an individual or team of staff in any setting which delivers education or training.
Nominations in this category must show how those being put forward always give exceptional service and make a real difference to the establishment through their work.
Karen Wilson, deputy principal at Lakes College West Cumbria, said: "Support staff play a key role in the success of teaching and learning in all educational establishments.
"We are delighted to sponsor this category in the Golden Apple Awards, celebrating the achievement and contribution which support staff make in a variety of different roles."
HR manager Megan Hughes won the support staff award at the 2015 Golden Apples. She works at Furness College in Barrow.
She said: "It was a great honour to be recognised not only by the awards panel but by my colleagues who had nominated me for this award in the first place.
"Support staff really are at the heart of our education system but often work very much behind the scenes to ensure everything is running smoothly."
She added: "The awards event was a wonderful celebration of the achievement of learners and the hard work of school, college and university staff. It was an uplifting event and great to hear the stories from across the county of the innovative work that is being done."
Since the awards Megan has taken on a senior role as head of HR for Furness College, which recently merged with Barrow Sixth Form College to become the largest provider of education and skills training in Cumbria.
Best Support Staff is one of 20 awards which will be presented at The Golden Apples this autumn.
Winners will be announced at a glittering event at The Cube, at the University of Cumbria's Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle on October 6.
Anyone can put forward a nomination for the awards, which are free to enter.
The 2017 Golden Apple Awards are sponsored by the University of Cumbria and Inspira.
Awards for individuals, professionals, volunteers and community awards are available. Entries close on July 28.
To enter go to www.gaawards.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Megan Norwood on 01228 612231.