BIIAB recently became the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) of choice for the Stonegate Group, the largest pub company in the UK. On Thursday 27 September, our End-Point Assessment team visited Stonegate’s Training Academy in Birmingham to find out more about them and how they use apprenticeships.
Kerry Ore, Head of End-Point Assessment
As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, it’s a privilege to spend time with employers to see how they support apprentices while they are completing an apprenticeship in the workplace. As Stonegate offers a range of hospitality standards, it’s great to see and hear how they are delivered and enhanced by their workshops, supporting apprentices’ ’off the job’ requirements.
When we arrived, the Apprenticeship Manager Rhona welcomed us along with her co-workers Olie and Mike. The presentation Rhona gave about the Stonegate Group’s identity, mission, aims, and values—and how they permeate all they do—was great. Olie even gave us a brief dance performance to show us how they remember their values!
We walked around the training rooms, and it was clear that Stonegate values learning, offering a range of professional development programmes including Aspirations, Evolution, Acceleration and Accolade. Rhona talked through the apprenticeship programmes, and I loved how unique Stonegate are. They follow Albert Einstein’s Theory of Progression – Evolution.
As an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), it’s a privilege to spend time with employers to see how they support apprentices.
- E=M1 -This is an introduction course, delivered internally online, covering the basics of hospitality.
- E=M2 – This course is the 12-month Food Production Chef Level 2 Apprenticeship.
- E=M3 – This course is the Hospitality Supervisor (Kitchen Route) Level 3 Apprenticeship
- E=M4 – This course is the Hospitality Manager (Kitchen Route) Level 4 Apprenticeship
- E=M5 – This is where learners have completed their Level 4 Hospitality Manager Apprenticeship and wish to move on to either the Level 5 Coaching Professional or the Level 5 Operations or Departmental Manager Apprenticeships.
Next, we were fortunate to receive lunch at the Walkabout bar, where the food was outstanding. Everyone departed feeling satiated and full. I salute the chef!
We were asked to walk down Broad Street and Brindley Place to see if we could find the several pubs Stonegate owns and complete a SWOT analysis on a few of these locations in groups. We gave Rhona and her team feedback. We didn’t realise that Stonegate owns so many pubs in such a little area, but with 12 successful acquisitions, it’s not surprising.
I love working in collaboration, so it was wonderful to hear the conversations between the Stonegate apprenticeship team and the IEPAs. Making sure that apprentices are at the centre of it all and are properly prepared to complete their apprenticeship is really important, as is sharing best practice and voicing concerns about the standard itself and how we navigate through it. The news that the Level 2 Hospitality Team Member Standard is finally being reviewed by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) was welcomed by all of us.
I would like to thank Stonegate’s Apprenticeship team, the BIIAB IEPAs, and the Skills and Education Group’s End-Point Assessment and Relationship Management teams for a fantastic day! I look forward to working closely with Rhona and her colleagues over the next few years and more.
Making sure that apprentices are at the centre of it all and are properly prepared to complete their apprenticeship is really important.
Shonyce Rudyj, Relationship Executive
I had no idea how dominant Stonegate are in the hospitality and catering industry; I wasn’t aware just how many well-known pubs and bars they own, despite using their services regularly. These include Slug & Lettuce, Popworld, and my personal favourite, Be At One Bar. Of course, these aren’t the only locations they own – they have a plethora of venues in their portfolio, all falling into one of their eight formats:
- The Chapter Collection
- SBG (Sports Bar & Grill)
- Pub & Dining
- SPK (Social Pub & Kitchen)
- Proper Pubs
- Be At One Cocktail Bar
- S&L (Slug and Lettuce)
At the training academy, it was great to see just how much Stonegate support, encourage and celebrate their learners with lots of quotes, celebratory noticeboards and feedback from learners who have ‘graduated’ from their professional development programmes.
Another highlight of the day was when we had the luxury of tasting food made in one of the many kitchens owned by Stonegate. We were treated to lunch at their Walkabout Sports Bar in Birmingham where we could see their Dynamic Prices on the menu and experience the bar in full effect. I think I can speak for all our team when I say that Stonegate really did look after us – we all left with full stomachs and smiles on our faces.
A very insightful day, meeting and creating relationships with great people – thank you Stonegate!
BIIAB provides end-point assessment services for a variety of hospitality and catering apprenticeship standards. Take a look here.