Opinion

How flexible apprenticeships could benefit your pub

By Jill Whittaker, managing director at HIT Training

- Last updated on GMT

Build your own team: flexing the apprenticeship model can benefit both the employer and employee says Jill Whittaker
Build your own team: flexing the apprenticeship model can benefit both the employer and employee says Jill Whittaker

Related tags: Training, Finance, Pubco + head office, Multi-site pub operators

As National Careers Week draws to a close, here is how using apprenticeships to attract and then retain talent in the pub sector is well worth the effort.

After a tumultuous couple of years for pub owners and operators, many continue to face significant staff shortages. Not only is it a challenge to recruit the right people with the right skills, it’s also often hard to keep hold of them.

Today’s employees want to try new things, to upskill and reskill and to have their value recognised. And in the current job market, they can easily find another position if these needs aren’t met.

The good news is that apprenticeships are adapting to meet these demands and new flexible training models being explored by the Government could present meaningful opportunities for pubs and their employees in 2022.

Unlock skills quickly

Apprenticeships are often relied on to help unlock skills quickly and to allow motivated staff to fast-track into positions where they can provide real value. New flexible working patterns could make that process even faster.

Under plans for a new ‘front-loading’ approach, apprentices would be able to receive intensive off-the-job training before they begin their formal responsibilities. Essentially, this would teach key skills and technical knowledge from the outset while key behaviours and practical skills will continue to be embedded throughout the full apprenticeship programme.

For pubs struggling with staff shortages, front-loaded training could prove invaluable in helping apprentices to hit the ground running and make a real contribution to their workplaces from the very start. For example, many pubs are particularly struggling under the current national shortage of chefs and the time required to train someone through current methods isn’t quick enough to meet this demand.

It’s also worth mentioning that flexible apprenticeships do not always have to be front-loaded. There are also options to flex the training model to deliver focused training at other stages of the apprenticeship – giving employer even greater flexibility to reflect the needs of their staff and business.

Shorter training programme

Another option that is already being utilised is ‘accelerated apprenticeships’, which allow an employer to adjust the length of an apprenticeship for an individual who has existing relevant knowledge or skills. For instance, anyone new to pub work who has a background in customer service is likely to already have some of the essential skills needed in our sector and wouldn’t need as deep a level of training in this area.

A shorter training programme is not only a more cost-effective approach for an employer, but would reduce the time an individual has to spend as an apprentice. However, it is also worth noting that the law requires an apprentice maintains their minimum programme time of 12 months.

Another training model that may become available is ‘flexi-job apprenticeships’, which are designed to ensure that sectors and occupations, where short-term contracts or other non-standard employment models are the norm, can access the benefits of apprenticeships too.

In a nutshell, with the variety of flexible apprenticeships available, pubs can look at what skills they need for their workforce now – and what they’re likely to need in the future – and choose a tailored approach.

Pubs stand to reap big rewards in boosting the skills of their workforce and onboarding new team members quickly, while employees will feel valued knowing that you’re investing in their careers with your business.”

For more information on training through apprenticeships, visit: https://hittraining.co.uk/​.

Related topics: Training

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