Ayrshire’s top three apprentices among 50 finalists will be announced next Friday.

The winners of Irvine Incorporated Trades Ayrshire-wide 2019 Apprentice of the Year will be revealed at a gala dinner in Kilmarnock’s Park Hotel on September 6.

A cash prize of £1,000 will be presented to the winner along with the prestigious Fergus Trophy. Second receives £500 and third takes home £250.

The candidates are:

North Ayrshire Council: Elise Hastie, Graeme Palmer, Liam Madden, David Dunlop, Sean Conaghan, Emma Affleck, David McKay, Josh Wilson.

East Ayrshire Council: Jordon Wilson, Chloe Wallace, Jack Offord, Mark Keeley, Sammy Scott, Isaac Patterson, Hope Welsh.

South Ayrshire Council: Alan Donegan, Craig Barrett, Arran McGarvie, Samuel Gonzalez.

Andrew Wright: Kerrin Steyn; Hillhouse Group: Stacie Weir; UPM Caledonian: Dylan Williams, David Anderson, David Gillespie; DSM Dalry: Hannah Duff, Caley Hamilton, Brandon McEvoy, Allan Ronan, Steven Gregory, Stephen MacLaren, Robbie McInnes, Megan Burley, Marc Spence, Luke Morrison; J&D Pierce: Connor McGirr, Scott Luatt, Ben Quinn, Brandon Taylor; James Frew: Jonathan Harkness; QTS: Ross Wardrop, John Gray, Andrew Pitt; SAS International: Lauren Gracie; Evans Halshaw: Callum Bark; Collins: Rory Nimmo, Richard McCracken, Callum Robertson; GSK: Jack Butchart, Blair Haggarty; SP Energy Networks: Craig McBain.

Organiser Sir Brian Donohoe said: “Irvine Trades have made tremendous strides with the apprentice awards since relaunching them three years ago and extending the catchment area to the whole of Ayrshire.”

“We are indebited to our main sponsors – Billy Bowie Tankers, QTS and Hillhouse Quarry Group –for getting us to where we are today.”

Main speaker on September 6 will be retired solicitor Willie Young, a former top flight referee, from Girvan.

Last year’s winning trio were Eoin Curtis, 22, an apprentice aircraft engineer from Ayr; Megan Burley, 20, a health and safety adviser from Kilwinning; and William MacNaughton, 38, a plasterer from Kilmarnock.