Pub group sets course to push staff retention

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is set to introduce a professional qualification
for managers to improve the career path of its staff and improve retention.

The group, which expects to add another 90 pubs to its 570-strong estate, is
to develop a formal qualification which will be mandatory for all its managers.

Wetherspoon’s personnel and training director Su Beacham, who used to be a
pub manager in the group, said the move would encourage staff to stay with the
company and move up the career ladder: "It’s part of an on-going drive to
help staff build a career path in the pub industry. We want to send out the
message that you can join the trade, get good training, a professional
qualification and move up the career ladder," she said.

The course, which is being developed by Leeds Metropolitan University, will
be the equivalent to a HND and will be called the professional diploma in
licensed retail.

The scheme will be based on workplace training and a series of exams. The
firm expects it to take around two years to attain the qualification.

The firm, which employs 13,000 people, has been working on improving
retention for the past five years because of the high turnover rate of staff.

Wetherspoon has reduced staff turnover through a package of improved pay and
training from 180 per cent in 1997 to around 48 per cent this year.

The turnover among managers has also dropped from 25 to 12 per cent and the
company wants staff to be able to move up through the organisation rather than
leave because they can find better career progression elsewhere.

"Our MD used to be an area manager and I used to be a pub manager. It’s
about offering career progression through the group," said Beacham.

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