Multi-talented creative and tech designer, Okori Lewis-McCalla is the winner of the 2020 Ben Martin Apprentice Award.

Babbasa, in partnership with Bristol Media and ADLIB Recruitment, presents the award with the aim of improving equal access to opportunity in the creative and tech sectors by offering young people from diverse backgrounds a summer of paid placements with leading agencies in the South West.

As the overall winner, 22-year-old Okori will also get the chance to travel to Texas, USA for South by South West – the largest interactive media, music, and tech festival in the world.

A creative director, filmmaker, and web & app designer, Okori was unanimously chosen by the judging panel for his passion and ambition to become a creative technologist.

He said, “To even be shortlisted for the Ben Martin Apprentice Award was quite flattering but to win the award is an honour and something I’m very grateful for. More than anything, it’s empowering and has reaffirmed to me that you can and should just be yourself.”

Okori got involved with Babbasa in 2018 after meeting CEO, Poku Osei at our Hear Our Stories event in Bristol.

He added, “After I met Poku at the event, I wanted to link up. I got on really well with Poku and vice versa, and I decided to get involved.

“Multiple things made me want to stick around since then. I get on well with the people there.”

“What Babbasa is doing is really great for Bristol. I feel like they are setting the precedent for the future by supporting a really great group of young people doing amazing things.”

Babbasa Advisory Board Member, Urfan Ali said “We’re always looking to find new ways to give opportunities to talented young people from diverse communities in Bristol and the South West.

“Okori has done an amazing job in showcasing his talents and ambitions, and now has the chance to advance his career in a potentially life-changing way.

“We’re very excited for what comes next for Okori and I am sure this will inspire many other young people to consider a career in the creative industry.”

The BMAA internship programme was hugely successful in 2019 and saw last year’s winner, Marissa Lewis-Peart, undertake 16 internships with some of the biggest and best agencies in the region. As a result, her career is off to a flying start!

This year, for the first time, two runners-up will also benefit from gaining practical work experience, setting them up for a future career in the industry.

Chair of Bristol Media, Chris Thurling said, “We all want to make sure our industry is more diverse and inclusive, but when you run a small business, it’s not always easy to know how to make a practical difference.

By coming together as the Bristol Media community to support the BMAA, every member business, regardless of size, can do their bit to help young people get that all-important ‘foot in the door’.”

Managing Director of ADLIB, Nick Dean added “ADLIB are delighted to support this year’s Ben Martin Apprentice Award. We’re a B Corp business committed to driving and championing diversity and inclusion within the technology, data, creative and marketing sectors.

We are big supporters of Babbasa and it has been a pleasure working with them and Bristol Media, we look forward to seeing the positive outcomes that are generated through the programme.”