WITH one of the fastest-growing economies in England and a huge predominance of small companies, Huntingdonshire is hugely reliant on training and developing employees to underpin its prosperity over coming decades. At least 11,200 new homes will be added to the district's housing stock by 2021, bringing as many new families to the area. Not only does that put pressure on the need for new physical infrastructure, but it creates a rapidly-rising need for new employment opportunities if environmentally-damaging out-commuting is to be avoided. Even with the number of London commuters predicted to increase by 2,000 over the next few years, that leads a huge demand for local jobs most of them in highly-skilled activities - and for the need to train people to do them. So it comes as no surprise that Huntingdonshire Regional College has identified the need to reward success in training and developing people working for locally-based companies. HRC is sponsoring a new category in The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards 2007, to find the company that merits the first accolade for the Training and Development Award. The college's principal Anne Constantine said: "Central to the college mission statement is the development of the local workforce through training and up-skilling in order to build prosperity within the region. As a leading provider of training to over 400 businesses in Huntingdonshire, the college sees itself as pivotal to the areas of growth and development." HRC's broad portfolio of training provision currently includes apprenticeships, intermediate and higher level skills and qualifications, and short courses for business and employee development, she explained. "Through our work with businesses we know how valuable training and development is to a company's bottom line, productivity, staff performance and job satisfaction. "Huntingdonshire Regional College provides training in 20 business sectors from accountancy to photography, from childcare to computing. We have two Centres of Vocational Excellence in manufacturing and management, and companies return to us year after year for their employee training. "We work in partnership with other colleges and training organisations in order to extend the services we offer to businesses and we are a leading provider of Train to Gain (Government-funded training for employers for level 2 NVQs). "With a proposed new college build in 2009\/10 and our association with local companies, the college will develop resources and facilities to meet employer needs and be integral in the design and strategic direction of the college. "Sponsoring this award allows us to display our commitment to training and development." Business development advisers are fully qualified to deliver individual training needs analysis for a client company and devise unique solutions for training needs. "As no two organisations are the same, the training we offer can be designed to suit individual needs," HRC says. "It can take place at your workplace or within our Services to Business Centre at the college. "Such training can include nationally recognised qualifications or bespoke workshops, designed specifically for your company's needs. "Huntingdonshire Regional College is dedicated to raising the level and improving the quality of training that businesses receive.