By Alex Dowdalls

BRIGHT Barrhead workers showed they’re the best in the business at the first-ever East Renfrewshire Employability Awards.

The ceremony, organised by East Renfrewshire Council’s “Work EastRen” employability service, highlighted the successes of people who have excelled in furthering their career and training prospects in the past 12 months.

Awards were handed out in categories at the inaugural event held in the Barrhead Foundry.

Among the major winners at the event was Naomi Gray from Barrhead, winner of EastRen Best Trainee.

Naomi initially attended the Work EastRen “Prepare to Care” course, and after a successful three-week work experience placement at Applecross Nursing Home, was offered a full-time position as a care assistant. Naomi is now studying towards her SVQ Level 3 in Social Sciences and Health Care.

Modern apprentice of the year was Murad Murad, also from Barrhead.

Murad is a Catering Modern Apprentice at Barrhead High and has become an asset to the team through his conscientious attitude to work.

Marc Wilson, again from Barrhead, was the winner in the developing the young workforce category.

A former head boy at Isobel Mair School, Marc was recognised for his drive, commitment and enterprise to moving onto further/higher education.

Having gained work experience in Waitrose and Crookfur Homes, Marc has now earned his place at college doing a Step Course to further his job prospects. He also works part-time in Greenhouse Community Café within Eastwood Health and Care Centre.

Jodie Turner, from Barrhead, took the special recognition award for Family Firm, which is about getting the best from the range of opportunities available locally to support improved learning, training and employment for care experienced young people.

Jodie was unsure of her next steps after leaving school, and joined the Family Firm pre-employability course which helped to develop her confidence and job skills.

While on Family Firm, Jodie completed a successful work placement in a local nursery and this allowed her an insight into the early year’s sector, after which she decided to pursue a career in this area and applied for the MA in child care at ERC. She is now in the second year of her apprenticeship, excelling in her role at Carlibar Nursery and has a bright future in the sector.

Council leader Tony Buchanan, who presented the awards, said: “It is fantastic to shine a light on the outstanding achievements of these local residents who have worked hard to further their career and improve their employment opportunities.”

He added: “This year’s awards were another fine example of what can be achieved and I congratulate every one of our residents who were recognised at the event.”

Special recognition certificates were also presented to Caroline Brocklehurst, Thomas Boyle, Charlotte Fleming, Ross Kelly, Christopher Rourke, Kieran McClure, Emma Gallacher, Niamh McInnes.

The Work EastRen team provides free advice and support for people searching for a job or work placements