Robinsons Brewery has today announced that their modern ‘Apprenticeship PLUS’ programme has signed up 50 applicants in the first 50 days – well on their way to 130 applicants by June of next year. “We’re off to an incredible start” said Beverley Ashton, Consultant Training & Development manager at Robinsons Brewery, “In just under two months we have filled almost half of our expected 130 places and the exceptional demand for the programme continues to grow.”
The apprenticeship PLUS is open to any pub, bar, hotel or restaurant in the North West. Funded through the GM Chamber of Commerce Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOS), the programme has been developed with other Greater Manchester regional brewers, restaurant and pub operators to address concerns with the current offering by adding additional qualifications in customer service and wine knowledge as well as giving every apprentice their APLH (personal licence).
“What makes me really pleased about this is that we are engaging tenanted pubs initially and gaining success” explained Director of Marketing for Robinsons, David Bremner. “With a managed business arguably it would be easier to hit numbers quickly as there can be more of a “tell” approach. But we have worked with about 20 tenants so far who see the benefit of having funded training for aspiring members of staff through which they also achieve the mandatory training in health & safety and food hygiene.”
Robinsons have initially launched five apprenticeships for bar and kitchen staff, supervisors & managers and see this as the start of a programme which would allow people who want a career in hospitality to progress onto higher level apprenticeships, ultimately leading to degree equivalent qualifications. “I’ve admired what the legal profession has done in Greater Manchester, giving promising A-level students an alternative to being £50K in debt by the end of university by taking them through a similar programme and paying them instead, with the added benefit of higher staff retention” explains David.
The Greater Manchester Employer Ownership of Skills initiative is what sparked the immediate interest at the brewery. “Hats off to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce for their support in getting us to this stage” David continued. “They funded someone to work in our business and develop this: someone who really understood the red tape, jargon and political pathways. The- funding allows us to train over 24s, through current mainstream funding. They continue to support us closely and the results are here to see. Without them we couldn’t and wouldn’t have engaged in Apprenticeships. I hope we can get certainty over future funding to continue the good work.”
“Selection of a training partner was also critical” explained Beverley Ashton who drives the initiative at the brewery and across Greater Manchester. “We invited over 30 training providers to tender, shortlisted nine and interviewed three. Charnwood were the clear winners and have been fantastic in helping us to date. They have people in our pubs helping sell in the message, sign up apprentices and they are already working on the next courses with the BIIAB so we can get them accredited and fully develop this career pathway. There’s no doubt that our tenants share our conviction when it comes to investing in training. Not only does it impact positively on the standards of service and the skills of staff, but it also directly affects the quality of the customer experience."
Commenting on the initial success, Rebecca Bolger, Account Manager at Charnwood said: “It’s great that licensees are supporting the Robinsons development programme and encouraging their staff to get involved to gain accredited and relevant industry qualifications. We’re excited to see how our relationship will develop over the next few months. ”