Training and Development Award, sponsored by Huntingdonshire Regional College

Demonstrating significant business improvement through training and development has got three companies through to the final judging. There could be little greater difference in size between last year s winner, the Huntingdon Marriott Hotel, part of a wor

Demonstrating significant business improvement through training and development has got three companies through to the final judging.

There could be little greater difference in size between last year's winner, the Huntingdon Marriott Hotel, part of a worldwide chain of luxury hotels, and motor dealer Vindis on the one hand, and Hunts County Squash in Hemingford Grey on the other.

Training and staff development are fundamental to the Marriott group's corporate philosophy, and successive managers at Huntingdon have embraced it enthusiastically. It is a continuous process that begins on the day "associates", as employees are called, are recruited and follows them through what could be a working lifetime. Many of the organisation's senior managers joined as junior associates.

The development process encourages employees to have realistic ambitions to progress through the organisation, encourages them to seek their personal goals and monitors them along the way.

Vindis Audi has a similar commitment, with training and employee development embedded in the corporate culture. The company is planning to take a large number of staff to Germany the better to understand not only the product but the supplier's own company culture.

Vindis also sets high training standards that are rigidly adhered to.

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By contrast, HC Squash sees it role as developing others, particularly youngsters and people with learning difficulties, to use the sport as a component of personal development.

It works with local partnerships, clubs and schools, not only to develop players but to train coaches and volunteers to deliver in the community.

The company, run by two elite-level coaches, also provides opportunities in racketball, pilates, circuit training and other fitness-encouraging activities.

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