Barrow-based apprentices have swept the board at a national ceremony organised by BAE Systems to recognise the work of the company's newest employees.

Overall UK Apprentice of the Year Award was presented to Kirsten Bell, one of seven accolades awarded to Cumbrian colleagues during a prestigious event held at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester.

Kirsten was recognised for “going above and beyond to add value to BAE Systems” and was praised for volunteering with the Samaritans and the Bendrigg Trust.

She said: "It was a massive shock – I was inspired to be in the same room as so many talented people."

It was her second award on the night with the 22-year-old also receiving the Higher Business Apprentice award.

Other award recipients at the annual event included Will Howard from Barrow who received the Craft Electrical Award while James Taylor received the Craft Fabrication award.

The Business Support accolade was awarded to Stewart Johnston, the Outstanding Achievement Award to Rosie Smith and the Excellence in Trade award went to Bob McCann.

Two other Barrow-based apprentices were shortlisted for awards. Alfie White was nominated for the Higher/Degree Engineering Award while Jake Stockdale was put forward for the Technical Engineering Award.

The event drew apprentices from across BAE Systems and was co-hosted by submarines welding apprentice Hannah Sherratt while talented higher apprentice project management Paris-Ayo Corkill demonstrated her versatility by singing as part of the entertainment.

"To have seven winners on the night was testimony to the individuals' excellence but also highlighted the quality of the support that is shown to them by the wider workforce at Submarines," Shaun Hannaway, BAE Systems' skills champion for Barrow, said: 

"As the Skills Champion for Submarines I was personally very proud of all our award winners, it was very good to see that the great work the individuals have carried out has been recognised with such prestigious awards."

The deadline for applications to join the BAE Systems apprenticeship schemes is the end of February.