Motorcycle crash victim operating his own pub two years on

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Young stars: graduates on the Joseph Holt celebrate at the Woodthorpe in Prestwich
Young stars: graduates on the Joseph Holt celebrate at the Woodthorpe in Prestwich

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A former landscape gardener, who stopped breathing after a motorcycle accident and was in a coma for six days, has become a licensee at his own pub just two years after the crash.

Kyle Vynne, 28, chose to take on casual bar work at a Joseph Holt pub 12 months after his gardening career was effectively ended by the accident.

Vynee, from Blakely, Manchester, has now joined a group of other employees who have just graduated from the company’s progression course, which is an in-house programme that encourages all staff members – however junior – to work towards fulfilling many of the career opportunities offered by Joseph Holt – including running their own pub.

Vynne said: “I can’t quite believe the speed at which I’ve been able to climb the ladder,” who started doing casual work at Joseph Holt pub the Turk’s Head in Manchester, after feeling well enough to get back on his feet following months of surgery and rehabilitation.

“I absolutely loved the work at the pub and felt I had found my true career. So, when I heard about the progression course, I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to work my way up the ladder.”

The scheme was devised by Chloe Dickinson, training and development manager for Joseph Holt and who started her own career in the pub industry as a teenager. By the age of 19, she was running her own pub in Chester.

Encourage ambition

She said: “The Joseph Holt philosophy has always been to encourage ambition within the company. We want people to view hospitality as a fulfilling career not just a stop gap or place to work until something better comes along.

“That’s why we decided to formalise this philosophy by developing a training course that could be completed alongside existing roles within Joseph Holt.”

The course, from the operator of 127 pubs, includes leadership and employee relations as well as mastering tasks such as effective communication skills, recruitment and retention. But there’s also grassroots work such as completing time in the kitchens, organising rotas and ensuring effective running of our food business

Other recent graduates include Sarah Brookes, 33, who took over her first pub, the Stanley Arms in Eccles, in April – after joining Joseph Holt as bar staff last year.

“It’s so important that people know hospitality can offer such a great career – yet I still get a lot of people asking me whether I work part time or whether I do another job too. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is such a fantastic career for anyone who wants it.”

The time was right

Fellow graduate Sophie Hardman, 31 became licensee of her first pub, the Cricketers Arms in Swinton, in October. She said: “I started working for Joseph Holt around 12 years ago and did various roles, including assistant manager and relief manager.

“This year was the right time to apply for my own pub – which I was delighted to get. The progression course was brilliant in consolidating all the experience I’d gained over the years and put me in the best place to run my own venue.”

The recent batch of graduates marked their successful completion of the scheme with a ceremony at the Woodthorpe in Prestwich.

Staff shortages remain an issue for many areas of hospitality with vacancies remaining 30,000 below pre-pandemic levels. However, Joseph Holt has managed to weather this, in part, because many people stay with the business thanks to the option for career progression.

Joseph Holt CEO Richard Kershaw, the fifth generation of the Holt family to run the business, said he believes entry level jobs such as serving behind a bar should be regarded as only the start of the journey for those with ambition.

He stated: “Working in, say, a pub after graduating or leaving school is a way of accruing some valuable skills such as learning how to be part of a team, communication and taking responsibility. We really want to nurture talent and ambition and our progression plan really encourages this.”

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