A young man from Carnmoney has won a prestigious award at a recent ceremony at Belfast Metropolitan College.
Matthew Bowers was presented with the Apprentice of the Year award in the Bakery category at the annual awards.
The 21-year-old, who works for Ashers, won the award at the event which was held at Millfield on Thursday, June 16.
The former Belfast Royal Academy pupil was unsure of what career path to follow after leaving school and ended up getting into the baking industry by chance.
He said: “I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do after school and ended up taking a gap year. My friends’ parents own Ashers. I went in to give them a hand one day and I fell in love with it. My future ambition would be to become a production manager with the company.”
The Carnmoney man had to impress a panel of judges while pitting his skills against one other finalist, before being crowned the winner. He was presented with the coveted trophy at the event.
Matthew, who has two more years left on his baking course at Belfast Met, was nominated by his tutor and employer for the award.
“I knew I had been nominated for the award, but I was shocked that I won. This is the first recognition I have had for my baking and I am very grateful.”
Matthew is full of praise for his employers and tutor, adding: “I would like to thank Gareth Ferguson from Ashers and my tutor Emmanuel McCann for putting me forward for the award. I’d like to thank Gareth as he has taught me all I know and Emmanuel has put me through all of my theory.”
Since winning the award, he has received a lot of positive feedback on Facebook. One person said: “Well done Matthew very proud of you.”
This sentiment was echoed by another person who said: “Well done big man.”