Joint Industry Event On Recruitment & Retention Sets Out Opportunities And Challenges

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), in association with the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), People 1st and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) hosted ‘Recruiting and retaining talent in your pub business’, an event aimed at helping businesses navigate upcoming changes to the Apprenticeship Levy, National Minimum Wage and Brexit.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, made the opening remarks, and told delegates of the importance of attracting and retaining talent in the pub sector. Training for staff, she argued, is a vital part of ensuring that workforces remain motivated and enthused.

Mrs Simmonds also addressed some of the challenges the industry will face in the coming months, from the Apprenticeship Levy, business rates revaluation and increases in the National Minimum Wage, all representing new cost pressures in 2017:

“I am very pleased that the BBPA is working with the ALMR, BII and People 1st in an area that is so vital to the success of our industry.

“2017 will see challenges for our industry, with new cost pressures from the National Living Wage, business rates revaluation and the Apprenticeship Levy, and it’s important that businesses are prepared.”

Brigid Simmonds also addressed Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, and spoke of the potential opportunities for British businesses, particularly around exports. Also, the importance in the Brexit negotiations of securing the labour and skills the sector needs was underlined:

“In initial findings from a BBPA member survey, 27 per cent of BBPA members’ workforce are from overseas, and this rises to 40 per cent and more in metropolitan areas. Kitchen staff are a particular area of concern, and there is a need to avoid any ‘cliff edge’, as mentioned by the Prime Minister in her recent speech.”

Brigid reiterated that the BBPA will be working with Government to get clarity on overseas workers’ rights as Brexit progresses.

Welcoming People 1st to the stage, delegates heard the importance of using apprenticeships to “maximise their levy investment” and increase retention and productivity.

Annette Allmark, Director of Strategic Policy at People 1st comments:

“Today we heard some fantastic examples of how employers are using apprenticeships as part of their talent strategy to develop skilled and committed staff.

“With the levy fast approaching, it is critical that businesses are aware of how it will affect them and how they can maximise their levy investment.

“The new employer-led apprenticeship standards – including one for hospitality team member that incorporates a new specialism in licensed retail – are a great solution to develop your talent and increase retention and productivity.”

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls, who made the opening remarks of the afternoon session, said:

“With the publication today of the government’s Brexit white paper and forthcoming wage and property cost increases, licensed hospitality businesses are looking for some stability and guidance. Today’s event has provided our members, the BII’s members, the BBPA’s members and the wider sector with the support and leadership they require to address these challenges and continue to grow.

“Today’s event is also a fantastic example of joint working across an industry that is vital to the UK’s economy. We are speaking with one voice to address the sector’s challenges; challenges that have too often gone overlooked by the government.”

British Institute of Innkeeping Managing Director Mike Clist added:

“Today’s event has provided licensees with valuable advice that will ensure that they are best placed to achieve their potential. If pubs are to continue to evolve and succeed they need the right training and qualifications in place to achieve success.

“Recruiting the best possible staff members and encouraging them to grow will also enable us to counter the perception that we are a low-skilled sector and show the government that we are essential to the wider economy.”

Veronica Robinson, director – training and development at Frederic Robinson Limited, added:

“This has been a useful and informative event – an opportunity to share ideas with others as we all face the challenge of employment and retention of colleagues and the apprenticeship levy.”