The glittering awards were held at the iconic Café de Paris in London’s West End on Monday (21 November), where finalists over six categories were announced by sponsor Sky presenter Hayley McQueen.
The rigorous judging process followed a huge number of written entries received by the BII.
The finalists then had to present to a panel of independent industry professionals and sponsors, before undergoing in-depth interview.
The winners were:
- Professional Trainer of the Year: Donna Hewitson
- Individual Operator Trainer of the Year: Glen Duckett, the Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom
- Training Company of the Year: Springboard and Diageo
- Best Development Programme (Leased & Tenanted Companies): Greene King Pub Partners
- Best Managed Company for Training (less than 30 outlets): Anglian Country Inns
- Best Managed Company for Training (more than 30 outlets): Stonegate Pub Company
Two special awards were also the trades standout individuals.
The 2016 Franca Knowles Live Your Life Award was launched last year in memory of former Beds & Bars people director Franca Knowes.
It recognises someone who has demonstrated a huge personal commitment to people in their business.
It was awarded to Stonegate Pub Company chairman Ian Payne in recognition of his career-long commitment to investment in his people and the innovative and market-leading training programmes he has developed with Stonegate.
A new award for this year, the NITAs Special Innovation Award was presented to Beds & Bars CEO and Franca’s husband Keith Knowles in recognition of him and his whole team.
BII CEO Mike Clist said: “Keith has worked tirelessly to support the view that our wonderful business should be one that any mother or father would be proud of their offspring to join.”
He added that Knowles was a leading example of how innovative training can work in modern retail businesses.
Clist also made the point that both Knowles and Payne had shown what it can mean for a business to have a leader who truly values investment in people and treats their team members as potential business leaders of the future.
Champion the people
He added: “The most successful individuals and businesses in the licensed retail market today are those that truly invest in, support and champion their people.
“It was therefore absolutely essential that the BII relaunched the NITAs for 2016, to celebrate and share their success so we can raise standards of training across the board and encourage further innovation in this area.
“The bar has been raised high by the winners of the 2016 NITAs, each of whom has demonstrated how they creatively use time and resources.
“In particular, the involvement of staff in designing training programmes, can benefit an entire business from the ground up and directly impact financial performance and growth.”
Clist congratulated the finalists on behalf of the BII and thanked the judging panel for their time with the finalists before choosing the winners.