APPRENTICES and companies in East Lancashire have been celebrating their success at a national award ceremony.

The National Apprenticeship Awards, now in their 14th year, showcase the successes and benefits of apprenticeships across England in the last year.

Apprentices and employers fought off tough competition by demonstrating how businesses are growing their own talent pool with apprenticeships and how apprentices have made a significant contribution to their workplace.

Both winners and highly commended entries were announced at an awards ceremony held at the Titanic Hotel, Liverpool.

Frankie Haggerty, an apprentice from Lancashire based Forbes Solicitors, won Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

She said: "I was honoured to be awarded Intermediate Apprentice of the Year for the North West, Cumbria and Lancashire area.

"I chose to undertake an apprenticeship as it allowed me to work and earn money whilst continuing to learn.

"I have gained hands on experience in practical situations which I have found invaluable.

"Completing my apprenticeship with Forbes Solicitors has given me skills and confidence to build myself a career rather than ‘just having a job’.

"I would encourage any young person to take up the opportunity of an apprenticeship."

Burnley-based Mark Taft, head of kitchen operations at Lancashire's Seafood Pub Company, said: "We are truly overjoyed to have received this award.

"With 12 award-winning food, drink and accommodation sites across Lancashire and Yorkshire, we are passionate about inspiring the next generation of young chefs through an innovative training and development programme.

"We cannot thank Nelson and Colne College enough for their support in launching this unique apprenticeship programme which has already seen 28 apprentices progress to full-time employment as seafood soldiers with the Seafood Pub Company."

Shannon Green, who worked at Burnley based Altham Travel Services Ltd, won the Intermediate Level Apprentice of the Year.

She said: "I am so proud that my career as an Apprentice has lead me along an amazing learning journey and listening to such inspirational achievements today has really confirmed that Apprenticeships are an opportunity open to all. Proud to be part of it."

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also won the award for Marco Employer of the year.

National award winners and the top 100 employers will be announced at a ceremony to be held on January 18 2018 in London.