USUALLY when an award is handed out at the end of the night for best winner, the individual who gained the first gong is easily forgotten.

However, there must have been something special about our Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year as the voting crowd selected him to be crowned Winner of Winners, an accolade sponsored by The Broadway.

James Pool, of Solenis, was shocked at claiming his first award, nevermind gaining another before the ceremony ended.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus again in the immediate aftermath of this announcement, Mr Pool said: "I didn't expect this at all.

"I'm just surprised that everybody remembered my name.There has been a couple of meals between this and my last award."

Mr Pool stood out for the support he offers other apprentices at Solenis, and for helping develop the firm’s apprenticeship programme. He works in a department which makes intermediate products. His employer said: “James is brilliant, he is always highly motivated and is always looking at ways he can solve problems on our plants.”

Mr Pool hopes he can be the example to others as to why to choose an apprenticeship after leaving school.

He added: "Hopefully, I have inspired people to look into career paths that they may never have considered.

"There is other options open to them that weren't explained in school.

"You can always go to university later in life, but to get that work experience and base knowledge, apprenticeships are the perfect way of doing that.

"I think apprenticeships should be the standard way people go. It is employers training people for exactly what they need."

On the night, judges, fellow nominees and specially invited guests voted for their Winner of Winners from the ten categories.

Along with Mr Pool, Exa Networks (Social Mobility), Ashtree Vision and Safety (SME Business), Kim McIntosh, of the University of Bradford (Apprentice), Oikos Family Centres (New Business), Cardinal (Tech Company) Christeyns (Sustainability), Expect Distributions (Employer) Pennine Plus (Family Business) and Ferno (Manufacturer), were also all up for the unique award.