HSBC and the West Midlands chain of butchers Walter Smith have landed major prizes at the National Apprenticeship Awards ceremony.

The prizes, now in their 10th year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and the trainees themselves.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was guest of honour.

Walter Smith Fine Foods was chosen as Medium Employer of the Year winner in recognition of its commitment to developing local young people through apprenticeships.

HSBC, which is headquartered in Birmingham, scooped the National Investors in People Apprenticeship Newcomer Employer of the Year award.

Birmingham-based Walter Smith, which was established in 1885, has a long heritage of training young butchers. In the last five years the company has taken on 50 apprentices which has translated to substantial business growth.

Paul Cadman, the firm’s HR director, said: “By training apprentices on and off the job we are able to mould and shape them in the ways we want and need them to behave.

"They become Walter Smith people who know our business and all of our shop managers were once apprentices themselves. We are hugely keen to encourage young people to enter this interesting and challenging sector.”

Meat Training Council Representative, Bill Jermey, congratulated the Walter Smith team.

He said: “To see such a highly prized award presented to an employer within our sector is symbolic of the increasing profile and prestige we are achieving in this industry.

"I would like to extend our congratulations to Paul and his team at Walter Smith Fine Foods, this is the culmination of a great deal of hard work, and is richly deserved.”

Mr Clegg said: “I was delighted to be able to meet so many of our young apprentices and businesses. It is the drive and ambition that will, in the years ahead, help our country and its people thrive.”