PERSERVERANCE has certainly paid off for a young apprentice who has gone on to gain regional recognition.

Apprentice chef Crystal Old from Yalbury Cottage at Lower Bockhampton has just been recognised at the Hospitality Industry Training Awards held at Coppid Beach Hotel near Reading.

The 18-year-old was delighted when she found out she had won the Apprentice of the Year award for Dorset but was further stunned to find out that she had won the regional award as well.

As a reward she has won a five-day holiday in the Isle of White and a new iPad Air.

Crystal said: “I was shocked when I heard I’d won.”

The budding young chef started working at Yalbury Cottage in June after badgering owner Jamie Jones.

Mr Jones explained that Crystal had been doing her apprenticeship somewhere else and was not doing well.

He said there was no space for her as she repeatedly got in touch to try and get him to take her on as an apprentice.

Crystal could not be deterred and even got her grandfather to ring Yalbury Cottage on her behalf before eventually Mr Jones relented and agreed to take her on for three months to finish her level two NVQ.

Since arriving Crystal has thrived and is now working towards her level three professional qualification.

She said: “I love it here. I learnt more here in a week than the whole time where I was before.”

Mr Jones admitted he was reluctant to take Crystal on but the way she responded meant his decision paid off.

He said: “She really impressed us and it’s been good all round, it’s been great for us because we have got a reputation to uphold.”

He said: “It’s all about having the right person with the right mentality and Crystal has it. She’s really hard working and that’s hard to find.”

Mr Jones added: “The credit has got to go to the youngsters who see an opportunity and seize it.”