A pottery designer who began her career on the pound;40-a-week Youth Training Scheme has been insured by her employers for pound;1.5 million.
Emma Bossons' designs are so important to the turnover of her company - Moorcroft Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent - that the bank insisted her firm took out a life insurance policy.
The company believes it would lose 40 per cent of its pound;6 million annual sales without her.
Ms Bossons began painting dinner plates for Wedgwood as an 18-year-old YTS employee before using that experience to get a job painting more complex, collectable designs at Moorcroft.
But her design flair was only spotted by accident, after she designed a one-off piece for members of the company's collectors' club.
The twenty-nine-year-old said she was trying not to let the pressure overwhelm her.
"It's frightening, if you stop to think about it. I'm just a normal, down-to-earth girl," she said.
"But I'm very proud, because I work very hard and it's nice to be recognised for my efforts.
"I'm actually the clumsiest person in the world, so it's a bit daunting.
They've been joking at work that they're going to chop my fingers off and claim the money."
Huw Edwards, the company chairman, described her as a "phenomenon" whose designs had helped Moorcroft grow.
"It's not a case of saying that our other designers are no good because they are extremely good, but Emma is unbelievable," he said.