SABMiller said that by 2016 it will have provided scholarships for 10,000 people employed by small and medium-sized licensed businesses in the UK. Ofqual-accredited, these scholarships will provide recipients with a qualification in responsible retailing.
The programme, run by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), has been designed to give staff an understanding of the tightly-regulated legal framework they operate in. It is also aims to give them the confidence to deal with an aggrieved customer who is unhappy at being refused alcohol because they are either drunk or underage.
Christine Thompson, UK Government affairs manager for SABMiller, said: "This course helps small businesses unlock the impact their staff can have on preventing under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour in their area. They do an important job and we want to make sure they have the confidence to do it properly."
Focusing the programme on areas of the country identified by the Home Office as being most in need of alcohol-related support, SABMiller will also appoint independent external advisors with expertise in local community engagement to oversee the running of the programme and ensure its effectiveness.
SABMiller has funded the programme annually since 2009 but positive feedback has led SABMiller to extend it for three years meaning an extra 6,000 people will be trained by 2016. The local targeting and oversight process are also new this year.
Denise Thomson, deputy director, BII Awarding Body, said: "The current economic climate can make it difficult for small businesses to invest in training, but the scholars programme gives them the opportunity to develop their staff and in turn become better businesses.
"There’s benefit for the individuals too as they become more employable within the sector even if they leave the business which trained them."