A North East cost management specialist has created a workforce development programme for its staff to help them gain nationally recognised qualifications, while accumulating new accreditations itself.

Nineteen employees at Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) have achieved their NVQ level two diplomas after the company launched the programme with assistance from local provider Talent Training.

Four have achieved a diploma in team leading, while a further three studied business administration. Meanwhile, 12 staff have been honing their client-facing skills on the customer service strand of the programme.

Seaham-based GAS has continually demonstrated a strong commitment to developing its workforce and showcasing the credibility of its business through training and accreditations. Recently the firm was awarded the internationally-recognised ISO 27001 standard, which is a mark of a company’s ability to demonstrate the robustness of its information security management systems.

The accreditation comes after GAS successfully completed Investors in People (IIP) and attained the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards in just four months. The company sees these accolades as a key step in its evolution as it looks to double the size of its business within the next year.

Judith Bennison, group HR director at Great Annual Savings Group, said: “We’ve managed to grow our workforce rapidly in recent months but we see recruitment as only part of the process of developing our business. The other key component is to retain and develop our valued employees so that we can map out a viable career path for them at one of the region’s fastest-growing companies. Giving them the chance to study for nationally recognised qualifications is a good way of achieving this.”

GAS has also signed up to the Institute of Customer Service’s Discovery Roadmap scheme in a bid to further improve its customer service and ability to share best practice. The scheme will allow GAS to work towards the coveted ServiceMark Award, a nationally recognised stamp of customer service excellence.

After starting life in a small office in South Shields in 2012, GAS has expanded rapidly in the past year, growing its staff numbers to 150, swelling its customer base to almost 1,600 and moving to bigger premises on the Spectrum Business Park in Seaham. It has saved its customers millions of pounds this year and now the company has embarked on a mission to double headcount and have a presence in all of the main UK regions by June 2017.

For further information about Great Annual Savings Group visit www.greatannualsavings.com