Inside Track by Anthony Pender On my frequent evening commute home on the London Underground I have been reading with interest the campaign to get young adults back into work and for businesses to rise to the challenge to create apprenticeship positions in their company and in the words of The Evening Standard to give potential future talent a chance. The campaign ran heavily for two weeks and I was surprised by the level of profile businesses were getting for announcing new apprentice schemes within their organisation. Barclay’s Bank, Goldman Sachs and Citi Bank all received a full page of well-needed positive exposure for enrolling 10 apprenticeships each. I couldn’t help but think as a trade we missed a trick here. Apprenticeships have existed within the hospitality trade since I can’t remember when, yet they seem to lack traction in the pub sector VS our counterparts in the hotel and catering sector. This is despite the fact that the potential to offer places within both large and small pub operations are endless. Some might say; why bother with it all? How does it help me? Or what is the point? To answer those questions I believe there are sound arguments to be made. On the negative side and one I hear bounded about is the cost and effort to take on individuals for them to not complete training or not take it seriously is pointless. As a business we have always taken on apprentices and whilst I can’t say every experience has been positive, in five years we have enrolled eight individuals, five of which have completed their programme and two have gone on to become key managers in our growing business. I’d argue although not a hundred percent record it bears better results than not investing in team members. Furthermore in many instances the training is funded for individuals. It also allows for a structure of learning that smaller businesses may not be able to provide. If you plan to grow your business or even make it foolproof to absences and departure of key personnel, the framework creates a much needed succession plan within the pub team. Let’s face it; our industry is in need of a level of professionalisation and recognition for the level of skill required to work within it. This brings me on to a second benefit. As an industry we often feel that we get a raw deal from government and local authorities despite our clear contributions to the community and economy. However we often fail to quantify our positive impact. By all doing our bit and taking on an apprentice we can create endless positive stories with clear value that cannot be ignored, lifting the perception of our industry in the eyes the wider world. I’m currently working with both operators and organisations to do just this and whilst we cannot deny the programmes need improving they are still worthwhile. Getting on board is easy and I assure you it will be getting even more simple and accessible in the near future. Anthony Pender is founder of the Yummy Pub Company