A TRAINEE chef from Ellesmere Port is in the running to become one of the UK’s top apprentices.

Todd Lowndes, 15, who works at the Grosvenor Pulford Hotel and Spa in Chester, has been shortlisted for the Young Apprentice of the Year.

He will travel down to London for the awards ceremony, which is organised by the National Apprenticeship Service, on Thursday, July 15.

In May, Todd won the Young Apprentice of the Year category in the North West heats.

He said: “When I won the regional award I couldn’t believe it, to be in with a chance of getting the national award is fantastic.

“I love cooking and feel really lucky that I have got a head start forging a career in an area I am passionate about through my apprenticeship.

“I know for sure that I want to be a chef and really value the experience in the kitchens I’ve gained so far.

“I can’t wait to go to the national awards in London and am definitely keeping my fingers crossed that I can do the double.”

Specialist teacher Phil Grey from West Cheshire College, where Todd trains, added: “We are delighted that Todd has got through to the national finals.

“He is a credit to the Young Apprentice Programme - keen, hard working, enthusiastic and a role model for all young people who wish to become apprentices.”

John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, said: “The annual Apprenticeship Awards recognise individuals who have achieved so much through hard work and good instruction and highlight the commitment many employers have made to invest in their workforce.”

Sue Price, regional director of the National Apprenticeship Service in the North West, added: “This year we received over 283 nominations from across the region in a range of industry sectors, showing the breadth and opportunities available through apprenticeships.”