Search begins for top apprentices
The search for Northern Ireland's most successful young apprentices has begun.
More than 11,000 apprentices in the region are eligible for the annual awards, along with employers and training suppliers.
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said: "These awards are our opportunity to applaud the apprentices advancing their careers through training, as well as recognising employers who are investing in the skills of their workforce by supporting apprenticeships."
The competition, called Apprentice of the Year 2013, has prize opportunities across four categories - Apprentice of the Year Award, Most Promising First Year Award, Recognition Award, and Innovation in Partnership Award.
"I would encourage all apprentices, employers and training partners to gain the recognition you deserve by entering the competition, which I hope will have a record number of applications," the minister said.
He added: "The quantity and standard of entries to this competition year on year demonstrates and acknowledges the important role of employers, training suppliers and the apprentice in the training process."
The competition comes in the wake of an advertising campaign launched by Mr Farry last week which will promote the potential benefits of apprentices to employers.
Nominations for the awards are now open and the closing date for all categories is noon on February 28.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Holiday Inn, Belfast, on May 15.
For more details and to download nomination forms visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/apprentice-awards-2013.