Finalists announced in on-trade’s training innovation awards

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Bar and pub operators have been announced as finalists in the industry’s annual National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs).

Stonegate Pub Company, Living Ventures, Bill’s Restaurants, Marston’s and Mitchells & Butlers are among those up for awards ahead of the winners being announced on November 21 at the awards dinner at Café de Paris in London.

Run by the BII with CPL Training and Propel, the NITAs celebrate those who have demonstrated training excellence and innovation in the licensed retail sector.

The finalists in each category will now undergo the final judging stage of presentations and interviews in front of panels of industry experts and sponsors on October 19 except for the licensee trainer finalists who will be visited and interviewed in their own bars and pubs.

The Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement Award will be chosen by a panel led by Keith Knowles, CEO and founder of Beds & Bars. This award recognises an individual working within the on-licensed retail sector who leads by example and demonstrates how training and people are at the core of what they do. This is an industry recognition award rather than a category open for entries, created in memory of the late Franca Knowles, who herself was a multiple NITAs winner.

An Outstanding Innovation Award will also be given on the awards night to an individual or company who showed the most innovative thinking and delivery.

Full list of finalists

Best Training Programme – Leased & Tenanted Companies under 200 outlets
• JW Lees
• St Austell

Best Training Programme – Leased & Tenanted Companies over 200 outlets
• Punch Taverns
• Marston’s
• Thwaites

Best Managed Training Programme – Companies under 50 outlets
• The Coaching Inn Group
• 16 Hospitality
• Oakman Inns;

Best Managed Training Programme – Companies over 50 outlets
• Stonegate Pub Company
• Bermondsey Pub Company
• Bill’s Restaurants

Professional Trainer of the Year
• Prakash Borhara (Stonegate Pub Company)
• Paul Mannering (HIT Training)
• Daniel Lowbridge (Quit 51)
• Simon Haslam (JSH Solutions)

Licensee Trainer of the Year
• Mark Thornhill (Kings Head, Winchester)
• Mark Holden (Inn Cornwall)
• Jennifer Kuhn (Windsor Fenchurch)
• Harriet Teague (Fuller, Smith & Turner)

Best Apprenticeship Training Programme
• Greene King
• Mitchells & Butler
• St Austell Brewery

Best Casual Dining Training Programme
• Oakman Inns
• Living Ventures

Daniel Davies, CEO of CPL Training Group, said: “To get to this stage is already demonstrative of their outstanding commitment to training and development. The NITAs, which showcase the very best of what the industry has to offer, is the ultimate training benchmark for any hospitality business or individual.”

BII CEO Mike Clist commented: “Last year’s re-launch of the NITAs proved to be a very popular return to the celebration of some of the fantastic people and programmes out there. This year we’ve seen just how vital the training and development of staff is to our industry and how exciting and rewarding a career in the hospitality industry can be.

“We are a people business and investing in effective training should be at the heart of everything we do.”

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