Coventry City's Gael Bigirimana has been named the Kitbag.com Apprentice of the Year for the Championship at the Football League Awards 2012.
Bigirimana received the award at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry. This year there were a total of 17 awards with 32 clubs shortlisted for honours.
Bigirimana beat two other shortlisted Championship players to the Award, Jonathan Williams of Crystal Palace and Jordan Obita of Reading.
Gael joined Coventry City as a 12 year old having shown persistence until they gave him a trial. The midfielder made his first team debut at the start of the season, and has taken it in his stride to become a cult figure among the Coventry City fans. Off the pitch he is on track to achieve his educational targets, having undertaken additional sessions because of his first team commitments.
On winning his award, Bigirimana said: "It means the world to me and brings confidence and desire to achieve more in the game.
"I need to thank the Academy staff at Coventry and my team-mates for making me the player that I am today. I would of course like to thank the gaffer for giving my 21 first-team appearances at the age of 17."
The Kitbag.com Apprentice of the Year for League 1 Award was won by Charlton Athletic's Jordan Cousins, while the League 2 Award went to Nick Powell of Crewe Alexandra.
When assessing the category, judges looked at the playing record of the apprentice's educational attainment, disciplinary record and other outstanding achievements. Players eligible for this award are those in the second year of their apprenticeship (i.e. in his 'under-18' year and registered as either a second year scholar or as a first year professional).
To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit www.FLAwards.com.