Karolina Sulinska, 21, a sales advisor at Superdrug in Lakeside won the award at the SkillSmart Retail Rising Stars Awards, the annual event to recognise talented retail workers.
The ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in London was hosted by Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis and compered by comedian Russell Kane.
Karolina said of her success: "It's so amazing that I've actually won the award. It was so unexpected, I can't quite believe it!"
Karolina became an apprentice with Superdrug after taking part in a Prince's Trust Get into Retail course run by South Essex College at the Lakeside Training Centre.
The month-long course involved a two-week Retail Works qualification at the Lakeside Training Centre learning about customer service and communication skills and two weeks putting it into practice in an unpaid placement at Superdrug.
On completion of her placement in the make-up and cosmetics store, staff were so impressed with Karolina that they decided to take her on permanently. She explained: "Superdrug didn't have a vacancy but after I finished my two weeks with them they went out of their way to keep me on. Superdrug has now put me on a Health & Beauty NVQ which is amazing considering I've only been there a short space of time."