DORSET’S most outstanding young staff, students and entrepreneurs were honoured at an awards ceremony.

Rock Recruitment Specialists held its Rock Star Awards at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth to recognise achievers aged 16-26 and the companies that develop them.

Seven individuals and a company were presented with their trophies in front of 373 business people.

The Bournemouth University Star of the Future award went to Lee Merchant, 21, nominated by his placement employer, Borough of Poole, for his enthusiasm, passion and his implementation of carbon reducing measures.

The Bournemouth University Star of the Future Under 19 category was won by Charlie James-Peers, 18, whose ambition is to bring change to the education system to ensure anyone can access first class education regardless of their financial situation.

Alice Jeans, 19, was named Breeze Volkswagen Rising Star of the Future. She began a weekend job selling tickets at AFC Bournemouth at the age of 14 and is now PA to the chief executive.

The Inspire Entrepreneur Star of the Future is Michael Pocock, 23, who has started several ventures including his current business, Lambert Ward Enterprises, which helps start-ups obtain grants and finance.

The WDS Inspirational Star of the Future award went to Nathanial Hawley, 22, whose difficult early years gave him the drive to study at university and become a young ambassador for the Prince’s Trust as well as a mentor for Aim Higher.

Fire Radio Media Star of the Future was Jasper Taylor, 20, a multimedia journalism student who could not be at the ceremony because he was working at the World Cup in Brazil. He has already accepted a job with Sky Sports.

Christian Clark, 20, was named Beach Weddings Bournemouth Hospitality Star of the Future. He works at the Chewton Glen Hotel and received the maximum possible number of Golden Duck awards for service excellence.

Rachel Benjamin, 23, was named Ageas Bournemouth Apprentice Star of the Future. Before winning the award she was a support assistant in a care home and is on a new career path with Ageas.

The Frettens Solicitors Star Company award was presented to Alan & Thomas Insurance Group, which was instrumental in developing a national apprentice programme. The company also has an in-house apprentice scheme and mentors school pupils in employability skills.

Angela Fletcher, Rock Recruitment’s MD, said: “With so many applications, getting to the final stage was exceptional and every judge told us how impressive each finalist was. I hope that current and future employers recognise what bright futures these individuals have ahead.”