As part of a major expansion and reinvention of the Mortgage Group, a fresh head of human resources has been appointed at the recently moved head office in Falmouth.

Claire Knowles, from Ruan Minor near Helston, was promoted from personnel officer to the position at the beginning of October, after the company's head office was moved from Truro to Falmouth.

Miss Knowles said: "I feel very grateful that the Mortgage Group have given me this opportunity. It's been fantastic, I'm over the moon."

The 29-year-old was born in Pembury, in Kent, and moved to Cornwall when she was three. After working for Boots in Falmouth and Redruth for three years, she began as a telesales operative at the Mortgage Group in 1999, when she was 25.

She progressed to become personnel assistant, before moving to work away from Cornwall to Northampton.

However, she quickly returned because she found she missed the Mortgage Group and was fortunately able to go straight back in to the position she left.

"Basically I got an experience of working outside the Mortgage Group, which was really good, but I found I missed it. They had expanded in that time. They had about 350 staff when I left and I came back to 600 or 700. It was really exciting, to see the changes in that year," she said.

She moved as a personnel officer from the Truro office to Falmouth in March, before being promoted to her current position where she is in charge of 130 staff at the Falmouth branch.

Her role is to assist her staff if they have any queries, and deal with general employee welfare.

"It's been very much a learning curve. For me it's a real opportunity," she said.

In addition to moving the head office, the company now plans to create around 200 new jobs for the area.

"We're now creating loads of jobs down in Falmouth, where we want to set up a call centre. We want local, Falmouth-based people, as well, so we can help Falmouth. We want to try and bring local people to local jobs.

"We're looking to be as full as we can be, with as many positions as we can," added Miss Knowles.

She said the company provided full in-house training and an applicant needed no particular qualifications apart from a good telephone manner.

"We do like to offer promotion and progression - we do recognise that. It's an exciting time and I think everyone feels that as well. Everyone is ready for what's going to happen."