AN award-winning Houghton company’s policy of local recruitment and in-house training seems to be paying off, its founder said this week.

Le Mark Group, which has won Hunts Post Business Awards, developed a 'local is best' policy, choosing to recruit from local schools when possible.

Now a former St Ivo School student, who joined the company from school in 2009 as office junior, has become a key player in the gaffer-tape-to-exhibition-equipment firm's award winning export department.

Hannah Attfield, 20, left St Ivo's 6th Form with a selection of GCSE's, not exactly sure exactly where her career path would leave. But her interest and GCSE pass in business studies led her to Le Mark.

Managing director Stuart Gibbons, who also chairs the Huntingdonshire Manufacturers' Association, explained: "Hannah quickly flourished in our commercial environment and we were happy to expand her academic skills. Moving successfully through the offered NVQ (levels 2 and 3) customer service programme that was offered, Hannah was keen to take on a number of internal roles, leading to her present position within Le Mark's export sales department."

He said her big challenge came as a result of an internal restructuring that gave her opportunity to take on lead responsibility for business development with all of Le Mark's Iberian clients.

This required her to agree to additional 'own-time' tuition to develop written and spoken skills in Spanish.

Mr Gibbons added: "On a recent business trip to Porto and Barcelona with Hannah, I was extremely impressed with her professional ability to pre-plan for the visit and, on arrival, present professionally to our customers.

"Export sales can be very tough; 14-hour days are the norm, with very early starts and late finishes. Hannah achieved this and more, confirming that Huntingdonshire can produce Britain plc's new generation of ethical, professional business.

"It proves that, if you are prepared to start as a junior yet have the drive and will to succeed, it will shine through".