A Whitley Bay apprentice took home the top prize at the North East Regional Apprenticeship Awards.
The honours, run by the National Apprenticeship Service, recognise businesses that grow their own talent and apprentices who make a significant contribution to their workplace.
Alastair Bailey, an accounting and finance apprentice at Procter & Gamble, won the Unilever Award for the Higher Apprentice of the Year.
The 21-year-old said: “This award means so much to me.
“I feel empowered to utilise the experience gained from my apprenticeship to drive influential decisions for a blue-chip company.”
All regional winners proceed through to a final national judging stage next month.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Apprenticeships continue to grow in popularity, and events like the National Apprenticeship Awards showcase how beneficial they are to both employers and individuals.”
Nick Wilson, deputy director Employer & Delivery Services North East, said: “The National Apprenticeship Awards are an excellent platform to recognise and celebrate the dedication shown by all our excellent apprenticeship employers and apprentices.”
“The quality of entries we have had for the north east awards this year has been exceptional. Those who have won should celebrate their success.
“We want it to become the norm for young people to choose between an apprenticeship or university as equally prestigious routes to a great career and a secure financial future.”