Donald Findlay QC is coming to Irvine next month to speak at a gala dinner to recognise Ayrshire’s top apprentice.

Fresh from defending Craig Whyte at the Rangers trial, the controversial lawman will be main speaker at gala dinner to celebrate Ayrshire’s top apprentice in September.

Organisers say they are delighted the decision to extend the competition has well and truly paid off, which they say looks set to be a sell-out.

Businesses from all over Ayrshire, as well as the three local authorities, have signed up for a glittering presentation night in the Irvine’s new Portal Leisure Centre next month.

The main event of the action-packed evening will be the announcement of the 2017 Apprentice of the Year who will receive a cash prize of £1,000.

His or her employer will also pick up an impressive trophy which is awarded annually, but there’s also a whole host of entertainment taking place around the prize-giving ceremony.

Donald Findlay QC will be the main speaker, with the night’s Master of ceremonies Willie Young, having also been a solicitor as well as a top grade football referee.

Other entertainment will be provided by North Ayrshire Schools Pipe Band, North Ayrshire Senior Concert Band and an ensemble of orchestras made up of talented local pupils. A magician will also add to the fun.

In addition there is a Silent Auction with some high value items on offer, like a return flight for two to JFK Airport, New York, donated by Sir Richard Branson; a four-ball golf match donated by Royal Troon; and a case of wine donated by Sir David Murray.

The Irvine Trades organisation, as the only one of its kind in Ayrshire, decided to expand the catchment area to take in the whole of the old county in order to give the revised awards scheme greater impetus.

Co-ordinating the awards is former Central Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe who is Deacon of the Weavers trade in Irvine.

Brian Donohoe said: “I decided to do this because I can never forget the lessons I learned as a young apprentice in the shipyards. Training young people in work skills, to me, is the key to setting them up with real jobs and real careers as well as giving the local economy a lift.”

“The training of work skills is all-important. Practical education for a sizable percentage of the population has been undervalued in recent years and I think we are suffering as a result. Both the workplace and the workforce benefit from having apprentices on board.

“An organised training programme with industry recognised qualifications at the end sets young people up for life. It is the most assured way of getting to the top in any career.”

Companies interested in the last of the tables should get in touch with Brian directly.

The dinner takes place on Friday, September 22, with a table of 10 costing £1,000, offering a value-for-money package that is second to none.

Included are canapes and sparkling wine on entrance, four-course dinner and all wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks.

Brian Donohoe can be contacted on 07774646600 or