Youth in the spotlight at Grow Gloucestershire Showcase Awards 2016
The county's most talented young people and businesses have been celebrated at the fourth annual Grow Gloucestershire Showcase Awards.
The ceremony, which took place last night (Tuesday 22nd November 2016) at Cheltenham Racecourse, recognised young people in Gloucestershire aged between 14 and 24 years old who have kick-started their careers and the businesses, individuals and schools who have supported them.
Around 130 guests attended and Gloucester College students provided a freshly prepared dinner.
The night was hosted by Steve Knibbs, BBC Points West presenter and featured guest speaker Cameron Parker, a motivational speaker for schools. He encourages students to think big, have ambition and work hard to achieve their dreams.
Born in Gloucester and raised in Tredworth, Cameron said: "This kind of event is brilliant, and I'm so happy to come back to the area I grew up in and share my experiences with young people.
"I've been really inspired by some of the personal victories I have heard tonight. It's been an honour!"
Those awarded on the night, were:
Outstanding Support to a Young Person - Alison Selwyn from Severn Vale School
Outstanding Work Experience Student - Gold winner, Billy Newhall for his placement with 2gether, and silver winner Ben Humenuik for his placement at Randall & Payne
Exceptional Achievement - Ashley Barr from Dunlem Mills
Outstanding Young Person in the Workplace - Alice Ciereszko, Ambassador for Gloucestershire County Council
Outstanding Apprentice - Gold winner, Leonie John from Downton, and silver winner Chadwick Dee from Healthville Residential Care
Outstanding Business Contribution - Downton PLC
Individuals and businesses who submitted nominations were short listed by a committee, including Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Cllr David Prince and Becki Clapton, last year's winner of the Outstanding Apprentice award.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: "This is something that I'm extremely passionate about. The young people we celebrated last night help to make Gloucestershire a great place to live, work and do business. They have gone the extra mile to start creating their future, often overcoming personal challenges and boundaries.
"They couldn't have done this without the businesses and individuals that support these young people, paving the way in helping young people develop skills and experience, by offering support, time and opportunities. Because of this young people can make a significant difference to your organisations and to Gloucestershire.
"I'd also like to thank everyone who came and showed their support for our county's brilliant young people, and to everyone that has helped to make the event such a success."
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: "I really enjoyed the evening and was personally inspired by the stories I heard. I am very proud of all the candidates and their achievements.
"I'm a huge fan of apprenticeships and it's brilliant to see apprentices amongst the winners and local firms encouraging this. The future is definitely bright in this county and I'm excited to see what these young people go on to achieve."
Cllr Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour group said that: "These young people should be very proud of what they have achieved, and I couldn't be happier to celebrate their success. My hope is that others will now come forward with the confidence that they too can reach their potential.
"A big thank you must be extended to the local businesses and organisations that took the time to recognise that will a little support these young people could achieve so much. Very well done all round."
The event also raised £280 for the charity Aspire Gloucestershire. The charity helps the most vulnerable young homeless people, offering accommodation as well as support with education and finding employment.
More information on employment opportunities for young people in the county go to www.yes2jobs.co.uk.