THE cream of Hampshire County Council’s apprentices, as well as the staff who support them, took centre stage at Winchester’s Great Hall for an annual awards ceremony.

Celebrating the work that the trainees have achieved, the authority’s fourth annual Apprenticeship Awards was a night to remember.

Award categories included Team of the Year, Mentorship, and a special Chairman’s Award, as well as awards for different levels of apprenticeship.

Winner of the coveted Trainee of the Year prize was Adam Drysdale, who is based in North Hampshire. Fellow apprentice Joe Moulding, a senior administrative assistant in the economy, transport and environment department, took the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year award.

Also to be recognised were Charlie Burden, trainee technician in the economy, transport and environment department, who picked up the Advanced Apprentice of the Year prize, and Joshua Saunders, an apprentice building surveyor in the culture, communities and business services department, who was presented with the Higher Apprentice of the Year award.

Picking up the special Chairman’s Award was Daniel Card, a corporate contact centre agent, based in Fareham.

But it was also the mentors which were recognised.

Gilbert Yates, a senior project officer in the culture, communities and business services department, of Winchester, was awarded the Mentor of the Year accolade.

Deputy Leader and member for children’s services, Councillor Keith Mans, presented one of the awards.

He said: “All our nominees have been put forward by their colleagues who want them to be recognised for their hard work and commitment to excellence. Reading through the nomination papers, it strikes me that we are extremely lucky to have such a strong cohort of talented and dedicated apprentices working for Hampshire, and managers and mentors who make the effort to bring the best out of them.”

Councillor Stephen Reid, member for education and skills, human Resources and performance, also presented an award.

He added: “Whether they are young people just starting out on a public service career, or longstanding employees returning to education to learn new skills, our apprentices’ work ethic and motivation to make a difference is humbling. With staff like these, the future of service delivery in Hampshire is in safe hands.”

Hampshire County Council currently has more than 70 trainees and has signed up more than 100 apprentices since April 2018. It says its committed to developing its apprenticeship scheme by expanding the range of new programmes being made available at all levels from Level 2 to a Masters at Level 7.