Over 70 MP’s, including 4 Ministers, turned out to support the second Pub, Bar, Brewing and Casual dining Apprenticeship Showcase event at the House of Commons during Apprenticeship week.
Addressing the apprentices, employers, parents and representatives from education, Minister for Small Business Andrew Griffiths MP said “Hospitality, more than anything else, recognises the importance and the value of the people you employ. When anybody turns up at a bar or restaurant, the thing that matters most is the people that welcome them, greet them and make their experience a special one. So, it is really important that as an industry you invest in those people and through the apprenticeship programmes that you are all running you are demonstrating that investment in the future of your business. That combination of learning and earning is the foundation for any career.”
Ian Payne, Chairman of Stonegate Pub Company, who operate circa 700 pubs said, “We are the third largest private sector employer. We employ twice as many people as financial services and we are larger than the automotive, pharmaceutical and aerospace industries combined but because we are fragmented those facts often get overlooked. The 30 companies represented in this room employ over 150,000 people. It is not just apprenticeships in hospitality, we have Heineken talking about their engineering apprenticeship, we have Everard’s talking about their finance and IT apprentices and Kris Gumbrell (Brewhouse & Kitchen CEO) is talking about brewing apprenticeships. It is not just purely hospitality, there are all sorts of other industries and skills that are involved in our business.
“My message is clear, you don’t have to go to university to build a meaningful career in hospitality and apprenticeships offer an equally valuable pathway to success. There is no question about that, and you don’t end up with a £60,000, £70,000 or £80,000 debt before you start. We even pay you from the start. UK hospitality fully embraces the apprenticeship programme and the people here are living proof that the programme works.”
Fullers People Director David Hoyle called on the education sector to even out the bias against apprenticeships in favour of a university education. “One of the challenges is around industry perceptions and attitudes. There is a perception that it is long hours, poor pay and poor customer service but none of that is true and the reality is so different. The training opportunities are vast and there is rapid progression.
Kris Gumbrell, Executive Chairman of Brewhouse and Kitchen, outlined the new trailblazing Brewing Apprenticeship that united brewers large and small to create a meaningful and quality qualification the will underpin our future brewing generations. “We’ve got a brewing heritage in the country but what was staggering when we started to realise that we needed this pipeline of people was that there wasn’t a credible brewing apprenticeship in the UK.”
British Bake Off winner Candice Brown took to the stage to challenge MP’s and young apprentices in a range of skills including cake decorating and whipping up the perfect cream whirl. Taking about the apprenticeships on offer Candice said “It’s important because the bog-standard education route isn’t for everybody. Schools should be doing more to push people down this path. The hospitality sector is becoming more prevalent and more open to everybody.”
Apprentices ranged from 16 years to 59 year old Dave Alebon who works at the Brasshouse, Birmingham. Dave said “I would recommend it to junior and senior colleagues because it is something you are doing to learn and being paid to do it at the same time.”
The companies that attended the event were Fullers, Beds & Bars, Everards, Casual Dining Group and brands Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and Bella Italia; Mitchell’s & Butlers and brands Browns, All Bar One and Toby Carvery; Butcombe Brewery, Stonegate Pub Company and brands Slug & Lettuce, Yates, Popworld, Town Pub and Kitchen, Classic Inns, Common Room and Proper Pubs; Brewhouse & Kitchen, The Coaching Inn Group, Heineken, HIT Training, Deltic, Beds & Bars and St Christophers Inns; Greene King, BBPA and supported by UK Hospitality.