A new category has been announced for this year’s Dorset Business Awards.

This year a focus is turning on those businesses that are investing in Dorset and those with apprentices that go above and beyond what’s required of them.

With this in mind, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry have announced a new category for 2018 - the Young Apprentice Ambassador Award.

This will be awarded to an individual that actively educates and encourages other young people in the county to consider an apprenticeship as an alternative to college or university. They could visit schools and careers fairs, give talks to local youth groups, or help develop a company’s apprenticeship programme.

The category is being sponsored by Superior Seals.

Tim Brown, the company’s director, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Young Apprentice Ambassador Award at this year’s Dorset Business Awards. One of our core objectives is to continue to share best practice with other local manufacturers and wider sectors, so deciding to sponsor this category made perfect sense.

“We’re proud to help champion and promote apprenticeships in the local area. We see the benefits from our Academy on a daily basis; our apprentices are a key part of our future and success. We look forward to hearing individual success stories from Dorset businesses that share our vision and contribution to apprenticeships.”

As well as the Young Apprentice Ambassador category, applications are being welcomed for the Investing in Dorset Award. This award aims to recognise Dorset companies that understand the benefits of supporting the county’s economy and buying goods and services locally wherever possible. The winner will be able to demonstrate their active commitment to spending locally and give specific examples that show the extent to which they are developing business relationships with other Dorset-based organisations.

UK Health Insurance is returning as the category’s sponsor.

Alistair Sclare, managing director of UK Health Insurance, who are returning as the category sponsor, said: “It gives us great pleasure to sponsor this award for the third year in a row and it is hugely satisfying to see companies entering and demonstrating clear improvements in the way they support other local businesses.

“If each of us moved to a local supplier for the regular purchase of just one good or service, it could make an immense difference to each other and to our local economy.”

In association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo and backed by Wave 105, the awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station Wave 105 and are free to enter. Entrants can submit an entry via www.dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk The closing date for entry is Friday August 3. Entry is open to all companies based in Dorset with a BH or DT postcode and entrants do not need to be a member of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.