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Taking simple steps to make hospitality more inclusive and welcoming for the Deaf Community

CPL Learning launches free online training course 'British Sign Language - Phrases for Hospitality' to support venues and individuals who want to improve the hospitality experience for Deaf people.

‘British Sign Language – Phrases for Hospitality’ has been developed to provide team members with knowledge of British Sign Language (BSL) and the opportunity to learn everyday phrases that will help them form better communication and interaction with guests. It is being launched to coincide with Deaf Awareness Week which, this year, is focusing on inclusion, and comes just a week after the UK Parliament voted to recognise BSL as a language of Great Britain in law. 
The free course provides an understanding of the inequalities Deaf people face and what you can do to help as well as an introduction to BSL and some basic phrases that enable team members to connect with Deaf customers more effectively.  
Launching the course, Jamie Campbell, Director of Learning at CPL Learning, an Access Company explained “Sign language is a beautiful and fun language to learn and initiate, and it contributes to a more inclusive society. This introductory CPL Learning course has been specifically designed to equip hospitality team members with the knowledge and confidence to engage with Deaf guests. It is presented in an informative style and in 10 minutes can help them gain an understanding of the diversity and challenges Deaf people face and introduce basic BSL and simple phrases to improve their experience by making them feel included and welcome.” 
“The importance of BSL in society received heightened public awareness at the end of last year when actress Rose Ayling-Ellis made such an impact as the first Deaf contestant – and champion – of Strictly Come Dancing. Rose is one of an estimated 151,000 people in the UK who use BSL, of which 87,000 are Deaf. Additionally, there are over 12 million adults in the UK who are classified as having moderate hearing loss, or greater, which is equivalent to one in five adults. It is our hope that, with BSL now legally recognised as a language, CPL Learning’s ‘British Sign Language – Phrases for Hospitality’ course will help start opening more doors and actively signpost that hospitality is a welcoming environment for the Deaf community.” 
‘British Sign Language – Phrases for hospitality’ is endorsed by the Institute of Hospitality and for further information or to take the course, head to: 

Interview with Emma Osman

Restoring hope and dignity; Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) is the charity supporting people facing homelessness, prison leavers and veterans to develop careers within the hospitality sector.

You’ve recently become an Ambassador for Only A Pavement Away, what appealed to you about working with the charity?
I like the fact that Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) doesn’t just throw money at vulnerable people, it seeks to empower them to not only find work but to help them receive the support that will enable them to progress and find long-term solutions. I believe this to be incredibly liberating. It’s like the saying: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.  

What does your role as ambassador involve, and what are we likely to see you getting involved with over this coming year?
Greg Mangham CBII, the Founder of OAPA, contacted me about the Ambassadorial role after seeing the work I do with United Agents. Much of my work puts the focus onto marginalised groups of people, those without a voice – a good example is my role as Carol in Band of Gold [Kay Mellor’s stage production].
I bring people’s stories to life, but equally my non-acting work supports them on their life journeys. I am currently involved with OAPA’s Inspire to Aspire Campaign, which works with 18-24 year olds specifically, aiming to give these younger people a greater chance of securing work and/or going on work experience. For instance, I will be running workshops and speaking to people about what assistance they need and how we can provide that. It’s about giving young people who have become disconnected from society the opportunity to move their lives forward.
My background and the fact that I’m a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (CBT) and Counsellor, provides OAPA with another dimension. With more younger people dipping into homelessness and poverty, I believe it’s essential to provide them with what they need, rather than telling them what we think they need.
I’m looking forward to the workshops this spring and to seeing the results, which will ultimately be about getting people into a job, feeling stable, happy and supported.

As an Actress, Producer and Influencer, you hold a high profile position and can do much to support the work OAPA is doing, to both encourage employers to willingly give people a chance, but also to build awareness of OAPA with the public. What difference do you hope to make?
As a young (I’m 27) woman of colour, I naturally bring a different perspective, which is important. I’ve been involved with various community projects, like the Girls Network, which mentors and motivates girls from working class backgrounds. I’ve worked in schools as a Teaching Assistant and have helped children aged between 2-16 years old. I like to think of my work as helping to turn people’s pain into power.
There is pressure on people today to try to be perfect. It’s unrealistic and it’s why we have a mental health crisis in this country. What I do is to mentor people to believe that perfection isn’t possible, but you can use what’s happened in the past and turn it into a positive.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that we all face the possibility of becoming homeless, it’s not just prison leavers, military veterans or those with mental health disorders. People become dysregulated. OAPA’s campaign is about giving people the space to have conversations and discuss ways that they can move forward. It’s in everyone’s interest to give people the skills to become engaged with our society and I’ve seen first-hand the positive difference community support can make.

Have you had much of an opportunity to connect with people in the hospitality industry yet?
I met lots of people at the BII’s Winter Event last November, and I’ve been meeting people from different hospitality environments.
It’s interesting because I’ve been speaking to people with various views, for instance, someone told me that young people today don’t have sticking power. I don’t agree. But I do think this mindset is indicative of the divide that can sometimes exist between the young and the old. It’s not about sticking power. It’s to do with young people today not feeling they have a stake in the economy.
Young people are expected to work ridiculously hard for the homes they can never afford. People need to bear in mind that it’s a difficult time and it’s disheartening for them, especially when the previous generations could work hard and attain the things they wanted, like a home of their own.
It’s what made it all worth it – the hard graft, being shouted at when things don’t go well and to be under the incredible stress that comes with working in a sector like hospitality. I’ve had jobs working in pubs, rugby clubs and McDonald’s, and it’s high paced and stressful, but knowing a pay packet will allow you to save for a mortgage is what makes it all worth it. Today, this once simple aspiration feels like mission impossible, unless you are living with someone. But, hospitality has much to offer: it’s a sector where, with training and support, you can achieve. You can move up the ranks quickly and be entrepreneurial. There are many successful entrepreneurs in this industry and by promoting their achievements, we can provide that incentive to stick it out and work your way up – then it begins to make sense.
The BII is doing an amazing job in promoting the opportunities and showing what’s possible. Employers can do more too by talking to the young people on their teams about the various opportunities: how they can work their way up the ranks and be part of a team that can make that difference.

You’ve said that real change comes from people believing in themselves and developing new life skills. How do you believe we (as an industry) can get the message across to people that change is possible?
It’s about encouraging young people to open up and share their fears and feelings. It’s something people seem to be happy to do with me and I know it’s also true of good people like Greg and Steve [Steven Alton CBII, CEO of the BII]. It’s up to all of us to bring young people on board and to encourage them and their aspirations. It’s about ensuring people have the confidence and the necessary skills to feel empowered and to able to make change in their own lives and to be part of a successful team. It’s in everyone’s interest to help create this change.

Tell us, what’s next for you? 
I’m currently involved with the Unboxed Festival, which is an arts project that tells untold stories from marginalised people, bringing them to life through audio and 3D images. I’m speaking to people in Lincoln’s communities, where I live, uncovering fascinating stories that shine a light onto individuals with an aim to change perceptions.
The work I do isn’t only about marginalised people, but about businesses, including pubs, that need help and support and where people are struggling currently.
The shocking reality is that in Lincoln currently there are 22 beds in shelters, but 88 people identified as homeless, which begs the question, where do the other 66 sleep?
I hope that my time with OAPA will help humanise homeless people. People can often have an odd view on what it means to be homeless, but if you’re living from pay cheque to pay cheque, it’s a position that anyone could end up in.
By supporting and empowering people, things can change. We all need to be more patient with those who are vulnerable and believe in them, so they will believe in themselves.

People Conference and NITAs 2022

Yesterday, the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) People Conference and National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs) saw over 300 people from across the sector come together to share and recognise innovation and best practice in people development. 

The day conference heard powerful contributions from leaders from across our industry and beyond. In addition to speakers from Greene King, New World Trading Company, Beers and Peers and KAM, guests heard from Rear Admiral Jude Terry OBE who is the first female to hold this rank. Her experience progressing through the Navy and currently heading up People and Development for over 40,000 people across the world brought new perspectives to our own people challenges. 

In the evening, the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs) recognised the very best innovation in training, apprenticeships, and wellbeing programmes alongside outstanding individuals in people development. One of the highlights of the evening was the BII’s brand new category - Hospitality Apprentice of the Year with all finalists being real ambassadors for the future of the sector.  

The evening culminated in the presentation of the Franca Knowles Live Your Life Award a very special recognition for an exceptional individual who leads by example and demonstrates that people are at the core of everything they do. This industry recognition award is in memory of the late Franca Knowles, who herself was a multiple winner at the NITAs, being a leader in people development and training. Franca took huge pleasure in seeing young team members grow and thrive. She placed immense value on investing in people, recognising the benefits for both the employer, employee and the wider industry. Keith Knowles OBE, Founder and CEO of Beds and Bars, proudly presented this year’s award to Anthony Pender for his outstanding work over many years supporting the wider industry. 

Anthony Pender commented:
“I am genuinely surprised and humbled to be recognised with this fantastic accolade particularly as this award has been decided by previous winners who I deeply respect and look up to.  On a personal note the Franca Knowles award and the NITAs are all about our people and I am proud to have been involved in re-establishing the NITAs as the industry awards for recognising exceptional innovation in people development. We are all very aware of the current challenges for our sector, so to see the innovation, collaboration and sharing of ideas at the BII People Conference and NITAs makes me extremely positive about the future ahead.”

The winners on the night were:

Staff Wellbeing – Individual Site Award
Caviar and Chips – Gemma Carter-Morris

Staff Wellbeing – Company Award
Beds and Bars

HR Manager of the Year Award
Jemelle Bish – Stonegate

Training Professional of the Year Award
Natalya Watson – Beer with Nat

Best Training Programme: Apprenticeships Award

Best Training Programme: Individual Operator
Tollemache Arms – Joe Buckley

Best Training Programme: Managed under 50

Best Training Programme: Managed over 50
Star Pubs and Bars

Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Company Award
Natalija Folmer – Brewhouse and Kitchen

Hospitality Apprentice of the Year – Individual Site Award
Grace Bailey-Williams – The New Inn

Franca Knowles Live Your Life Award
Anthony Pender

A full set of photographs from the day and the evening can be found on the following links:
People Conference

Almost 3/4 of guests believe not enough is being done to make UK venues more accessible

Almost three in four guests believe there is not enough attention being brought to accessibility in the UK hospitality industry according to a new consumer survey.

The ‘Accessibility in Hospitality’ survey, unveiled to the public this week by Robin Sheppard, founder of the Blue Badge Access Awards and president of Bespoke Hotels, in collaboration with guest experience management experts, HGEM, found that 71 per cent of customers want more to be done to address the lack of accessibility in the industry.

The survey, which was distributed to a large database of HGEM’s mystery guests, both non-disabled and disabled between the ages of 18 to 66+, also revealed almost a third of guests (30%) would leave a venue immediately if access for disabled people was inadequate, while more than half of participants (53%) said they would not return to a venue where access was difficult.

Interestingly, it found there was a distinct split in opinion from a gender perspective, too – only 62% of male respondents suggested not enough attention is brought to accessibility; however, that number reaches 73% with female consumers.

On a more positive note, hotels were found to have a good reputation for adhering to disabled people’s needs (58%), but the results for other hospitality sectors painted a more concerning picture, with leisure scoring just 16%, restaurants 14%, pubs 7%, and quick service a shockingly low 5%.

Discussing the survey findings, Robin said: “We must concentrate on the statistics, because they tell quite a tale. The figures unveiled in this report are a stark reflection of consumers’ attitudes towards accessibility in hospitality – and the results aren’t pretty.

“More importantly, they make you realise that what is currently deemed ‘normal’ is simply not good enough. We must establish a new normal and erase years of historic insouciance on accessibility. We believe highlighting inaccessibility in statistical form is one of the first steps we can take to making the hospitality sector more inclusive, and we believe the time to innovate such change is now.”

The spending power of disabled people and their households in 2020 was estimated to be worth £274billion per year to UK businesses, and it is believed that various hospitality sectors lose out on £163million to £274million per month, by ignoring the needs of disabled people. 

Robin continued: “As the co-founder of the Blue Badge Access Awards, alongside Fiona Jarvis of Blue Badge Style, we have made it our mission to advocate for inclusivity in the hospitality sector. It is crucial to make the hotel experience more joyful and inclusive for both disabled and non-disabled guests, designing and creating a place of beauty and practicality for everyone to enjoy.”

This year’s Blue Badge Access Awards will be held on 28th April at Hotel Brooklyn, one of the most inclusive hotels in the UK. 

For more information on the awards and how to get involved, please visit

To see the full survey findings, visit
With many consumers understandably being more careful with their dining out, the trend for menu customisation is definitely increasing. For operators, it makes sense to maximise food spend as well as minimising food waste.


In response, analysis of menu trends suggests that more operators are reducing the number of dishes on the menu, but giving customers more options to tailor the dish to their own tastes.
The reassurance of familiar dishes and pub menus classics is one way to appeal to consumers, by serving something they know they’ll enjoy. At the same time, offering a choice of toppings and side dishes adds to the experience and creates a premium feel. For pubs, customisation can be a way to offer a tighter menu, built around the most popular dishes, without customers feeling they are being short-changed on choice.
While consumers are used to having a choice of toppings when it comes to burgers and pizzas, the principle can be extended to many dishes on the menu.
Steaks: Steak and chips is a mainstay of pub menus, as well as being a dish that  customers see as a treat. Many pubs already offer a choice of sauces and toppings, such as garlic butter, peppercorn and béarnaise, and this can easily be increased to encompass spicier choices, such as peri-peri or chili sauce.
For a beef dish with a real kick, Szechuan Slow Cooked Beef with Noodles, Spring Greens and Asparagus is a way to use a less premium beef cut while still adding value and choice for customers:
Another way to serve steak with a difference is dry-aged chargrilled sirloin steak, oxtail mac & cheese with roscoff onions:
Fish: Pubs can freshen their fish & chips with the choice of different fish species, which also boosts sustainability. Fish supplier Direct Seafoods ( can advise on the best available choice of white fish to batter, as well as help to vary the menu with farmed choices such as ChalkStream®️ trout. This works well in lighter summer dishes, and can be offered with a choice of accompaniments.
Fish specials are popular with customers who may not always be confident about cooking fish at home. ChalkStream®️ trout with chorizo, peas, grilled little gem, pea shoots, and garden pesto, is a summer recipe that makes the most of this tasty fish, as well as demonstrating the way different accompaniments can be used to customise dishes.
Pies: A choice of home-cooked pies is always popular, and varying the fillings regularly adds to customer choice as well as enabling pubs to make the most of changing availability. With more customers than ever looking for plant-based choices when they eat out, this Vegan Wild Rice, Button onion, Mushroom and Ale pie is a tasty twist on the classic steak and ale version:
Sandwiches: A lunchtime menu of deli-style sandwiches with a range of breads and fillings offers the opportunity for customers to create their ideal sandwich to eat in or takeaway, which can also add a much-needed additional revenue stream. For a classic deli sandwich, offer salt beef with mustard and pickles
Side dishes: Chips with everything may be the traditional approach, but varying the choice with sides such as sweet potato fries or Spanish-style spicy croquetas can help persuade customers to trade up. For something very different and colourful, offer kale Crisps as an option:
Sending customers away happy with their choices will help encourage them to make the best choice of all – coming back next time!    

Tech Talk - Hospitality tech terminology explained

Want to know your AI from your EPOS? We understand that hospitality technology can be intimidating and some of the terminology is, frankly, baffling, so our Trusted Partners Zonal created this jargon-busting glossary of terms to help licensees make sense of it all.

Artificial intelligence (AI)
In pubs, this happens when arguments and theories become more spurious the longer the night goes on. In tech, it means intelligence demonstrated by machines rather than humans or animals. Advanced Google searches or Alexa answering your questions are both common examples.

Augmented Reality (AR)
It’s reality but not as we know it. Augmented reality is an interactive experience of the real world enhanced by computer generated information. Still not clear? Remember when loads of people were using their smartphones to find Pokémon? That was augmented reality. It can be used in pubs to provide customers with venue information that can be accessed with their phones, such as details generated on menus or pump-clips about food and drink.

Tech circles will affectionately refer to this as ‘under the hood’. This is the bit of the computer which allows it to operate and is not typically accessed by the user, it includes data and operating systems. Click & Collect
Prior to the pandemic, the practise of buying online and collecting at a venue was more generally associated with retail and the weekly shop. Smart pub operators pivoted during enforced closure periods to sell meals and drinks online that customers would collect at the venue. For many, it has provided a valuable and continued revenue stream.

Connected Technology
This one is as simple as it sounds. Connected technologies are devices that connect to each other and the internet, making business more efficient. This could be a tablet connecting to your EPOS system to monitor payments and bookings or the way a smart phone links to a watch.

Customer Database
A means of storing all the metrics about your customers and how they interact with your business. Using a variety of channels like reservations, loyalty and WiFi to build and maintain your database allows you to glean insights about your customers and thus personalise their experience of your brand. If the data shows the majority are veggies, maybe hold off on that steak night! This data is often stored in a CRM system.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Ensuring customers are happy and want to come back for more is essential for any pub. CRM systems are designed to help you do this by managing the touchpoints you have with customers so you can communicate effectively. They do this by using the data from your customer database.

Customer Experience (CX)
Also known as the customer journey. This is the entire experience a customer has with you, from finding you online, making a reservation, entering the building, ordering, eating and drinking – all the way through to writing a positive review and sharing that experience with others.

Contactless Payment
Contactless was something we all got used to over the course of the pandemic. Payment wise, customers now expect to be able to pay using contactless in pubs so they can avoid entering their PIN number or trying to find some loose cash. Contactless includes both physical cards and mobile payment devices using Apple or Google Pay.

Digital technology
A catch-all term for basically everything involving computerised technology. It also covers data captured in binary digits. We’re talking smartphones, social media, laptops, desktops, digital photos, EPoS (we’ll get to that) and much, much more.

Newcomers to the trade may well wonder what this acronym means. It’s short for Electronic Point of Sale (as opposed to PoS, which covers the likes of posters, beer mats and table talkers). However, EPoS is so much more than just a fancy till system these days. A modern EPoS includes all the tools a business needs to help you run your business better, faster and with as little effort as possible. Find out more about our customisable EPoS solutions for independent pubs here.

Handheld Ordering
Taking the EPoS system to the table with a connected handheld device has many advantages. It dramatically speeds things up, reduces the potential for any errors from either memory, notebooks or inputting into the till and can give a superior guest experience! (Think: a table ordering drinks before their meals, and having those drinks arrive before they complete the ordering process!)

Integrated Payment System
The important bit – receiving your hard-earned money! This technology ensures servers always charge the correct amount and sends that money directly to your bank. Simple. As this technology progresses, you’ll find it built into EPoS, Pay-at-Table devices. handhelds, kiosks, apps, websites… and likely wherever the next frontier takes us…

Integrated Technology
A suite of technological solutions that link and work seamlessly together to help the smooth running of the business.
Zonal works with a number of partners to offer various solutions to help pubs and the wider hospitality industry.

Inventory Management System
This is a digital system that controls your Stock and Order process – from supply chain and recipes and menus to stock counts and reports. Such systems help operators keep a close eye on things and spot where savings can be made and margins improved.

Online Booking
A software system to allow customers to make reservations online, before they visit you in person.

Order & Pay
The ability to browse the menu on your phone, make your choice and pay, all while at the table or in a seat. Another area of tech that became more familiar from necessity due to the pandemic, but is now a customer expectation.

Not just the stage from where your resident quizmaster asks the questions or your karaoke singers star, but also technologies that provide systems or services. Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and (of course!) Zonal are all platforms.

Property Management System (PMS)
A software system for hotels and venues with rooms. It can encompass facilitation and management of a range of requirements such as: bookings (availability, rates and channels); check-in / out; finance and invoicing; room maintenance; customer details; staff rotas and wages; marketing and point of sale.

PoS Terminal
The tangible device that houses your EPoS software, be that behind the bar, at a host point, in the ticket office, at reception and even at the table (see handheld ordering). Check out what Zonal has on offer here.

Purchase to Pay

This is the term that describes the end-to-end journey of placing orders with your suppliers. It can enable teams to see what’s in stock, what’s on order, when orders are due for delivery and invoices that need to be paid. A Purchase to Pay system can reduce over-ordering and significantly improve margins by sourcing goods from the best supplier at the cheapest price...

Mixed Reality
The next step on from augmented reality, where the real world and virtual reality are combined together to create new experiences. Think, sitting in a pub and enjoying a pint with friends – except they are in another pub…

Real-time Booking
Technology that allows customers to make online reservations with you at any time of day or night and receive immediate confirmation. Connected technology can take this to the next level by giving an ‘in-session’ view of availability for those last minute booking types!

Not the boss of the company, but probably even more important. Your SEO is ‘search engine optimisation’ and getting it right improves your visibility and presence online.

A pivotal role in all hospitality businesses around the world! Not dissimilarly, in tech a server takes orders and delivers the right thing, to the right place, at the right time! It stores applications, files, web services, email and customer databases.

Stock & Order
Running low on stock? Got a big event coming up? Stock and Order describes the process of tracking what lines you have in stock, on order and what you will need to replenish.

Table Management System
Paper diaries are great. Online Bookings are even better. And Table Management makes Online Bookings the best! A good Table Management system will automatically assign your bookings to the most suitable table, allow hosts to plan and refine the session allocations and make greeting and seating a thing of beauty. Using connected technology can even give a hosts live course status’, automatically assign loyalty numbers and even ping pre-orders directly to the kitchen! Check out how we can help with this.

Tech Stack

All the bits and bobs together… The combination of technologies used to help run a range of processes within a business. This is sometimes delivered by a single platform (like Google or Microsoft – you may hear a business described as a ‘Microsoft House’ which means their tech stack is mostly provided by them), or by a multitude of providers. Choosing the right ‘stack’ is essential for a business and will be determined mostly by the technology experience levels it holds, and how well this tech works together.

User Experience (UX)
A term that has as much relevance in hospitality as it does to technology. User experience, often shortened to ‘UX’ is used when talking about how easy, effective and enjoyable a device or service is for the person using it. Something tech and hospitality providers strive tirelessly to get spot on.

Voice Recognition
Many of us are now familiar with asking Alexa, Siri or Google for answers to tricky homework questions or weather forecasts. We would anticipate a proliferation of this kind of technology within hospitality both for customers and staff.

Virtual Reality (VR)
Another piece of the reality puzzle, where users are immersed in an entirely simulated environment. Examples are already appearing in hospitality via gaming experiences and is likely to grow in the on-trade. This could be used in training programmes or even allow customers to enjoy a version of your venue from anywhere in the world.

Web Ordering
Not just for those Halloween decorations. It’s another catch-all term that covers ordering via any web-based platform. It includes how your menus can be made available on third-party apps and website.

As simple as it sounds, the ability to communicate over distances without the need for any wires or cables. There are many technologies that can provide this, most notably: Wi-Fi; Bluetooth and 4/5G. Different situations and locations will suit a certain wireless type, so it’s always a good decision to get some expert advice.

Zonal has a wide range of technology solutions designed to make life easier and businesses more profitable. Find out more about our range designed specifically with pub tenants and licensees in mind, here!
A self-declared grumpy and cash-strapped teenager, after his dad stopped his pocket-money, Sam Beech got his first job, aged 16, as a part-time glass collector at the Ferry Tavern in Warrington. “It was the best thing my dad ever did. He believes in having a strong work ethic.”
Two years later, while studying computer animation and special effects at university, he secured a job as a bartender, doing promotional projects, before working his way up to become a supervisor. On graduation from uni, Sam made the decision to stay in hospitality, working for Revolution.
“When I told my dad that I was going to work in a bar, he said ‘brilliant’! He could see my passion for it. I loved the cocktails and making drinks, and creating a great guest experience. I like to chat to people – I become a bit of a grump if I spend too much time on a laptop.”
Sam then went on to work for the highly innovative and exciting bar group Living Ventures, founded by the late-Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, who went on to set up the New World Trading Company (NWTC), as a trading division of the company.
“I thought Living Ventures was the best of the best. It had the highest standards, when it came to training, and over the next four years I worked my way up to become the General Manager of The Botanist in Alderley Edge in Cheshire.
“When I first joined them from Revolution, I was taken aback, the level of detail at Living Ventures was like nothing else. They take you right back to the basics. I was literally ordering the straws! But they build you up, giving you the tools through lots and lots of training. I loved it. The standards were high and there was so much structure in the business. It is all about giving everyone the same opportunities – if you work hard and are hungry for opportunities, you will do well.”
In 2016, Living Ventures sold NWTC and Sam left the business, spending the next few months selling promotional merchandise. But when he received a call from NWTC’s Operations Director offering him the opportunity to come and do recruitment, he jumped at the chance.
“They wanted someone who understood the company and its culture, and what I lacked in knowledge about recruitment, I made up for in my passion for the business. There’s many in the business like me – I think if we were cut, we’d bleed New World blood! We believe in everything we do and work to make it even better.”
Having quickly got to work setting up the recruitment arm of the business, in January 2020 he was given the title Head of Talent.
“I visit all the new cities where we’re opening to find amazing people to join us. When we’re bringing on new teams for a new site, it’s all about the training. And as we don’t want to risk diluting our company culture, we have created talent pipelines and encourage our managers to spot talent within their teams.
“These days, there are certain roles for which we only recruit internally and we are constantly looking six months ahead for any new openings. This gives us time to identify internal recruits – we offer a good relocation package – and get the new team up to standard. As we open more sites further away from our hub, we need superstars to go there and embed our culture. For instance, when we opened Plymouth, which is 6.5 hour’s drive from our Head Office, we had our Area General Manager Paul move down there to take our culture south.
“Internal recruitment for new roles stands at 60% currently, but we are aiming to move that figure to 75% this year,” he explains.
Sam is launching the new Management Academy this month (April), to be followed by the launch of the Future Management Academy in July – all designed to identify management material within sites and develop them into new roles within 9-12 months.
“My job is just awesome. I get to work with a ton of different people every day. My role has a huge impact and it’s lots of responsibility and involves a high level of trust – working with people to help move them on into new roles and opportunities. It’s very exciting. No day is ever the same. I’ve made friends for life here."

Pub is The Hub to support Welsh pubs to offer new essential services after being awarded new £25K grant

Pub is The Hub will be supporting diversification projects for Welsh pubs after receiving a grant of £25,000 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

Pub is The Hub is a not-for-profit organisation which offers independent specialist advice to publicans on rural services diversification so they can provide viable local services at the heart of their community

The new two-year programme will enable Pub is The Hub to help some pubs provide much needed local services and amenities in rural areas across Wales. This could include a wide range of diversification projects such as village stores, community cafes, IT Hubs, allotments and libraries. 

Malcolm Harrison, Wales advisor and director at Pub is The Hub, said: “This marvellous support and encouragement from The Prince’s Countryside Fund will make a big difference to many rural communities in Wales, enabling Pub is The Hub to support local diversification projects at a very challenging time for people and businesses in many rural areas.

“We are looking for good publicans in Wales with pubs that can offer a vital service to people in their local area.”  

Pub is The Hub chief executive John Longden said: “This new project funding from The Prince’s Countryside Fund will allow Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund, to offer small grants together with advice and guidance, to help local publicans make a difference in their rural Welsh communities.” 

Keith Halstead, executive director, of the PCF said: “The PCF is pleased to support Pub is the Hub in developing its support to rural communities across Wales.  The pub is often at the heart of community life and the PCF’s investment in this vital project will enable more publicans to provide essential services which residents need."

Pub is The Hub successfully completed 20 projects in Wales between 2009 and 2013, when previous funding was in place, and had contact with over 100 pubs that were interested in diversifying. 

Find out more about Pub is The Hub at get the full details on the criteria and an expression of interest form by emailing [email protected]
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