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Heineken UK Supporting Training & Development

  • HEINEKEN UK shares advice and top tips for retaining staff, to combat rising worker shortages and support the growth of on-trade businesses – drawing on tried and tested success with Star Pubs & Bars

  • Well trained staff are typically happier and more loyal, so investing in e-learning or training like Hello BEER could save your business time and money

  • Under the government’s Apprenticeship Scheme, you could be eligible to receive £3,000 per apprentice you take on before 30th September 2021

The UK’s hospitality industry is experiencing a rising worker shortage and a challenge around the lack of available trained staff. Offering training is a great way to recruit people into this sector. To support on-trade operators with staff retention, HEINEKEN UK has drawn on the experience and expertise of its Star Pubs & Bars to share advice and top tips for upskilling and enabling current staff to reach their full potential.

Building the Best Team

Promoting and developing your existing team can save you time and money.

Rather than paying for costly recruitment, does anyone in your business demonstrate the behaviours you require from the role? If it’s knowledge and skills they lack, is this something that could be learned? Investing in training your existing team is crucial, given lack of career progression is cited as one of the main reasons people have left the hospitality industry.

Well-trained staff are typically happier and more loyal.

* Work with your staff to understand potential ambitions or interests. Then establish training opportunities and career pathways to boost employees’ impressions of you as an employer, and increase their likelihood to consider a career in hospitality.

* The ability to support career development should be a key priority. Demonstrate this commitment to your staff to help incentivise existing employees, increase their feeling of being valued and therefore boost loyalty. Benefit from a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce, as well as decreased costs, by reducing the need for recruitment and induction training.

Time to train can be seen as a barrier. But not all training has to take up your time. Adopting a blended approach to training allows you to access many different resources to train your staff.

Remote Training / eLearning

* Online (or eLearning) to gain knowledge on pre-entry topics such as food safety or age verification can save you time with new staff. Many providers offer these types of courses that can be completed on most devices including mobile phones, and are industry recognised which means the content is suitable across the hospitality sector. These courses are low cost and there are often packages to suit all budgets, but operators can also access some resources for free from the Licensed Trade Charity.

* As well as aligning to your staff’s ambitions and interests, evaluate what sort of training will drive the most return on investment for your business. For example, if you run a drinks-led pub, then ensuring your bar staff can speak knowledgeably and deliver a consistent quality serve every time will help increase sales and reduce wastage costs. With 90% of your beer and cider sales being on draught[1], staff training resources like Hello BEER provides courses in beer and cider quality from cellar to serve, helping your staff deliver a great customer experience. Priced from just £2 per learner, the app is easily accessible for all staff, simple for you to monitor course completion and could help you tap into up to an additional £25,000 worth of profit[2]. Speaking with your supplier can be a great source for these types of training; Hello BEER is available free via the HEINEKEN Buying Club.

* eLearning allows employees to gain knowledge on a wide range of topics, often in their own time so they can manage their learning. A multi-trained team will be able to support each other during busy periods, for example with front of house staff who are cross-trained to support in the kitchen during busy periods. This can lead to a better, happier working environment, as well as higher customer satisfaction.

Government Support

On job training can be supported by using Apprenticeships or placements; a period of training that allows employees to learn a particular skill or set of skills whilst working. There are schemes that focus on hospitality industry knowledge, skills and behaviours. You can take advantage of two government financial incentives aimed at getting staff up to speed quickly, as well as people back into work.

* Apprenticeship Scheme: Apprenticeships allow individuals to earn while they learn and provide practical on-job training with study. They’re also a great way for existing staff to improve their skillset. You could be eligible for a £3,000 cash injection for every apprentice you take on before 30th September 2021. To apply, employers need to set up an account on the Apprenticeship Service prior to the apprentice being enrolled. You can log back into the system afterwards to claim the incentive. Find out more about Apprenticeship funding. Star Pubs & Bars is currently running Apprenticeships from Level 2 to Level 4.

* Kickstart Scheme: If you’re looking to recruit new staff, this scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit at risk of long-term unemployment. You could receive £1,500 per placement until 31st December 2021 to support overhead costs and help improve the person’s employability, e.g. onboarding, mentoring and supervision. Apply for a grant either by visiting The Kickstart Scheme directly online, or through a Kickstart gateway provider already working with the Scheme.

Through the experience of Star Pubs & Bars, HEINEKEN also recommends Remit – one of the UK’s top providers of government funded apprenticeship programmes, who offer a range of effective and affordable solutions to help hospitality businesses with recruitment and training.


“I hadn’t heard of the Apprenticeship Scheme before; my boss introduced it to me so I could improve my skills in the kitchen. I’m learning so much more than I was at college and all the training is online, meaning I can work at my own pace while getting practical experience and earning money at the same time.”

* Katie Oliver, Senior Chef at The New Inn. Undertaking Remit Apprenticeship Standard, Senior Chef Production Cooking, Level Three.

“I really believe in apprenticeships – I did one myself when I was 18 and currently have three staff members on different schemes. They manage most of the training directly with the apprenticeship company, which saves me a lot of time, and I’ve seen employees working in the business for longer and harder as a result. Customers like familiarity, so it’s a huge benefit to offer my staff training programmes that help them grow and help me keep them for longer.”

* Nina Houston, Owner of The New Inn

Staff Recruitment

If you still need to fill new roles by expanding beyond your existing workforce, there are some simple, lower cost measures you can take.

1. It’s worth exhausting your current network. Contact previous colleagues who may be looking for a change and consider candidates from your last recruitment drive who may not have made the final cut due to timing or other external factors. Don’t be afraid to scout for talent when you’re out and about

2. It’s also beneficial to incentivise your existing team with bonuses to help drum up carefully considered talent. If you already have cracking members of staff then chances are they will know friends or family members who share the same values, principles and interests. Just make sure you only fulfil the finder's reward after the new hire has completed at least three months’ service!

3. Advertising in-outlet or online can work, but it's important to consider the image you want to project to your guests. Use very positive language. “Always recruiting great people” is much better than “Chefs needed” or “Kitchen staff vacancies”.

4. Personality and the ability to deliver great customer service is critical in hospitality, so it’s important not to focus solely on skills, qualifications and experience. When you do find a potential candidate, it’s worth thinking about how they will fit in with the rest of your team and ultimately with what your business stands for. Trial shifts are a great way to assess someone’s capabilities, but ensure you pay them for their time.

Serving Pub Expertise and Insights is one of the five pillars of the HEINEKEN Benefits Bar – your virtual local serving up the products, services and ideas to help you run a profitable pub business. Access this full suite of benefits simply by partnering with HEINEKEN UK.

For more information on the HEINEKEN Benefits Bar, building your team and growing your business, visit:

[1] CGA Strategy Volume MAT to 20 February 2020

[2] Vianet Beer Quality Report 2018-2019. Reduction in beer wastage and moving from 50% beer served through clean lines to 90-100%, assuming 50% GP


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