A TOP national award could go to an apprentice from Ellesmere Port.

Three employees at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet have been shortlisted for prizes at an awards ceremony to be held in London.

The Skillsmart Retail Rising Stars Awards recognise the finest apprentices in retail from the 10,000 who complete the course every year.

Rachel Fellows, 19, who works at the Papermill Shop and 21-year-old Laura Morgan, from Columbia Sportswear, are among the four nominees for the Skillsmart Retail Apprentice of the Year.

Rachel said: “My confidence has really improved because I know that what I am doing has been assessed and meets what is required of a manager. I feel that I have come on leaps and bounds since I started the course.”

Laura added: “Lots of things that I have learnt and do as part of my job I take for granted, but actually take a lot of skill. I think the Apprenticeship gives me recognition within my organisation. It has helped me show my employers that I am keen to progress and that I have the skills to do it.”

In the National Skills Academy for Retail Learner of the Year category, for young learners on courses other than an apprenticeship, 17-year-old Faye Furnival from the Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy (CORA), is in with a chance.

Faye said: “I always knew I wanted to work in retail and having a recognised qualification has really helped me get ahead. Studying has really changed my opinion of retail, people think it’s just a shop job, but there’s much more to it than that.

The three CORA learners, who all live in Ellesmere Port, have been invited to the ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair. The awards will be presented by Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis.