A COMPANY that is tapping into the ever growing call centre business in the region has scooped two major prizes in the annual North-East excellence awards.

Washington-based GN Netcom overcame stiff competition to land the awards in the small to medium sized business category and the special prize for leadership.

The Danish firm specialises in the design and manufacture of high quality headsets for use in telephone, mobile communications and computer telephone applications.

The awards, jointly sponsored by the region's training and education council's (TEC), NSK Bearings Europe and Northumbrian Water are modelled on the European Quality Award, widely recognised as Europe's premier business award. They are open to all types of organisations in the North-East which have demonstrated excellence.

Les Kirby, quality manger at Sunderland City TEC, said: "Despite having only six weeks to prepare for the awards , usually companies have 12 months - we felt that they stood such a good chance of winning something, that all the hard work and effort would be worth it.

"The whole process is extremely rigorous so the fact they actually won two major awards is a credit to them and thoroughly well deserved."

The company's entry was encouraged by Sunderland City TEC's Investors in People team while reassessing them for its IIP standard.

MD at GN Netcom, Peter Quigley, said: "We are extremely committed to our people and strongly believe that a successful organisation is only as good as its people.

"The support and guidance we received from the IIP team was invaluable. They facilitated a brain-storming session as well as assessing our documentation before it was submitted.

"We could not have done this without the full support of the team here and of course Sunderland City TEC."