HAMPSHIRE County Council’s biggest ever apprentice awards have been celebrated at Winchester’s Great Hall.

The fifth annual Chairman’s Apprenticeship Awards, hosted by Chairman Charles Choudhary, acknowledged the achievements of apprentices, trainees, interns and their mentors from all over Hampshire who are working and training with the Local Authority.

Cllr Choudhary said at the awards: "We are firmly committed to our apprenticeships and continue to develop new opportunities at all levels from Level 2 right through to Masters’ Level 7."

He added: "As a Local Authority, we are judged on the quality of our services and, at a time when the challenges of service delivery are greater than ever, our apprentices’ commitment to improvement will have a positive impact across all our services for many years to come."

The night’s top prize, the Chairman’s Award for outstanding apprentice, went to Neil Redman from Portsmouth. Upon winning the award, Neil said: “Winning came as a complete shock. I was honoured just to be nominated for an award, let alone win the Chairman’s Award.”

The full list of award winners follows:

Level 2 Apprentice of the Year - Rebecca Anders, Fair Oak

Level 3 Apprentice of the Year - Leah Arkley, West End

Levels 4-7 Apprentice of the Year - Sarah Gerrard, Totton

Intern of the Year - Shaun Harvey, Waterlooville

Trainee of the Year - Eric Mahoney, Basingstoke

Mentor of the Year - Jemma Ash, Gosport

Team of the Year - Shared Services

Rising Star - Elizabeth Gilbert, Hedge End

Apprenticeship Champion - John Cookson, Portsmouth