Training for consistency: pubs

Ann Robertson and Matthew Ingram, the first two apprentices to complete the BII's Licensed Hospitality Apprenticeship Level 2 training scheme

As is the case with restaurants and hotels, the pub sector is made up of a range of varying sizes of business, from the individually-owned freehold pub employing a handful of staff members, to the multi-site operator with thousands of recruits. 

Each scenario has its own challenges when it comes to training staff, but what is apparent is that the pub sector has been making huge efforts recently to invest in staff, recognising that talent needs to be attracted to the industry, then nurtured in order to be retained. 

Speaking out at the BII’s National Licensed Hospitality Apprenticeships Summit earlier this month chief executive Peter Thomas said there was a need to develop a training scheme to help break ‘misconceptions’ about the pub industry being a temporary place to work.

“Many young people just see working in a bar as a student job to earn pocket money. Their parents usually share this negative opinion, and it is these barriers we need to overcome by getting the message out that apprenticeships in the licensed trade can lead to a very rewarding and fulfilling career,” he said. 

Apprenticeships 

It was partly for this reason that the BII introduced the Licensed Hospitality Apprenticeship Level 2 training scheme. The scheme, launched in August last year, is designed specifically to help small pubs offer training to their staff, which could help retain them and ultimately make the business more profitable. 

The BII said generic hospitality apprenticeship programmes had been geared too much towards the hotel and restaurant sectors which meant that apprentices in the pub sector were not seeing the relevance of the qualification to their jobs, hence the need for a separate scheme. 

Chris Wood, publican at The Arrow in Eastleigh, Hampshire, was one of the first people to experience first hand how the new apprenticeship scheme could benefit a pub. One of his members of staff, Matthew Ingram, became one of the first people in the country to successfully complete the training two weeks ago. 

Ingram, together with Ann Robertson of The Tap in Portsmouth (both pictured, right), were given a nationally recognised qualification after taking the course through HTP Training and also received a Personal Licence. Wood says that makes it beneficial to not only the member of staff, but to their employer too. 

He says: "I have always looked to get new employees onto NVQ training, it's something I did when I was coming up through the ranks.

"There are many similarities between the NVQs and the BII Apprenticeship: it's solid, on the job training, teaching them key skills from line cleaning to cellar management, and so on. But, I believe, what you are awarded at the end of the Apprenticeship is far more beneficial."

Investing in people

While apprenticeships may be an effective starting point for those early on in their careers in the licensed sector, employers know they need to keep investing in their staff if they want to keep them motivated and build on skills which can ultimately bring consistency and excellence into their business.

Two pub companies of differing sizes - Hall and Woodhouse and Greene King - have both invested in managers at their pubs by allowing those interested in taking management qualifications to study for them.

For the last three years Hall and Woodhouse, which last year invested £200,000 in developing staff at varying levels, has supported selected managers through a three year Business and Hospitality Management degree course at Bournemouth University.   

The course teaches managers a range of skills within areas such as marketing and financial reporting which are designed to help them better develop their on-the-job skills as well as arm them with a new qualification. 

Greene King's scheme is a Level 5 Diploma in Management, which sees nine candidates from across its estate complete seven modules in areas such as people management, customer service and organisation. 

The course, which is run in conjunction with Charnwood Training Group, isn't quite a degree, but is nonetheless an effective way of combining learning and practical skills and ultimately develop employees.

"Our aim is not to just provide a 'pub job' but to offer a clear career path for our employees to become our house managers, regional managers, development managers and even directors of the future," says Jonathan Webster, managing director of Greene King's Destination Pubs and Restaurants division.  

E-learning

For multi-site operators with large numbers of employees, ensuring that all members of staff are trained and developed in the right way is arguably more challenging, so if you’re in this situation, how can you be sure that every person you employ gets access to training? 

As the largest privately-held managed pub company in the UK, Stonegate Pub Company had that challenge on its hands. It operates 560 pubs across the UK and employs about 10,000 people in a range of roles, from bar staff to managers and senior operational staff. 

Earlier this year the company decided to introduce an online e-learning training programme which is designed to be used alongside more practical on-the-job training. 

The Albert’s Theory of Progression programme, as it is known, is separated out into sections depending on the level of the employee within the business. 

Workers login to their own accounts to complete short modules with Albert, a character developed based on Albert Einstein, guiding them through. 

Although they are given clear timescales within which to complete them, because it is online they can fit it into their own schedules and, as Lee Woolley, head of learning and development at Stonegate says, the presence of Albert makes it more fun and engaging. 

“We’re in the people business and we know our staff are brilliant at interacting with customers and delivering great service. So what we wanted to achieve with Albert was to bring a modern approach to the important business of learning and development but in a way that really enthuses and engages our people and plays to their strengths,” he says. 

“We’re delighted with the feedback for Albert so far by members. It’s a great training tool for the next generation of Stonegate employees, complimenting simply and efficiently alongside more traditional practical project based learning methods.” 

To read all our articles on training for consistency click here.

Related News

Stonegate Pub Company's Luna nightclub will eature iPad-linked drinks menus, LED lighting displays, weekly celebrity DJs and an array of live entertainment

Stonegate Pub Company opens restaurant, bar and nightclub in Solihull

In its public house sector report, Fleurets has said the industry is currently in a very 'positive environment' despite the impact on pub of taxation

UK pubs: 'Bad news is behind us', says Fleurets

Rosie and Clive Russell, business partners at The Onslow Arms in Loxwood, West Sussex, are among a number of Hall & Woodhouse pub tenants who previously worked in managed houses

Hall & Woodhouse reports surge in number of former management operators applying to become pub tenants

Jess, a manager at The Somers Town Coffee House, with Billy, one of the first people to benefit from Yummy Pub Company's work experience scheme which is now being rolled out across the industry

UK pub industry pledges more than 400 work placements in just one week

Staff can complete the WorldHost Insights programme online within about an hour and a half

E-learning customer service course for SMEs launched by People 1st

Greeene King currently employs over 21,000 people across its main trading divisions: Retail, Pub Partners and Brewing & Brands

Greene King develops video training app for pub staff

Hugh Baird aims to combine academic studies alongside vocational studies with a hospitality and catering specialism

Hospitality and catering Career College to open in Liverpool

Learning from other operators and sharing best practice can help hotels improve staff training

Training for consistency: hotels

Investing in training staff at all levels can have multiple benefits for your business

Training for consistency: why it’s so important

Staff training is the bedrock of good service

Training for consistency: restaurants

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.