To celebrate 100 employees progressing to the position of general manager off the back of the company’s Accelerator programme, those employees were invited to the House of Commons by Stonegate with several MPs, including Sajid Javid and Hilary Benn, joining them.
The Accelerator programme, which was launched in 2013, aims to give deputy managers the skills to progress to management. Laura Cowhey, general manager at the Kings Arms in Caerphilly, Wales, says that for her the course was: “Not about the usual management skills. It was much more focused on self-growth and how to be the best you can.”
For Steve Kenwood, who is now general manager at Molloy’s in Bath, Somerset, it completely turned his career in the pub industry around. “Before I started the course, I was very much in a rut with the job I was doing and I was unsure if I wanted to stay with the company and in the industry. But it completely turned things around for me and I went on to get my first managerial appointment,” he says.
At the reception at the House of Commons, which was attended by 64 MPs, the managers generally received more than a brief royal wave from their MPs. Laura Cowhey was even taken for coffee and cake by her MP, Wayne David.
As one graduate of the programme, Mick Carpenter from the Cross Keys in Erdington, Birmingham, put it: “With all the hard work you put in at work, it’s always nice to get a treat every now and then.”
"The sort of work that just grabs you"
23-year-old Paul Humphrey (right), pictured alongside his MP Sajid Javid (centre) and Stonegate's chairman Ian Payne (left), was recently appointed as general manager at the Slug & Lettuce in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, after completing Stonegate’s Accelerator programme this summer. He told The Morning Advertiser about how he got into the pub trade and his aspirations:
“I was at the site in Brindley Place in Birmingham while at university. I started as a glass collector and worked my way up to deputy manager within four years.
“I had wanted to be a teacher, but pub work was the sort of work that just grabs you and you develop a passion for delivering service and hospitality, so I dropped out of university to join Stonegate full time as a career. I then just worked my way through to get to this eventual goal of being a general manager.
“Bromsgrove has been my first management step to overcome and then I’ll continue after that, as my big life goal is to be an area manager before I am 30.”