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The Caterer

Shepherd Neame

12 July 2005
Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame is a vertically integrated regional brewer and pub retailer, founded in 1698, which seeks to retain its traditions while using new techniques to make it one of the most innovative in its field. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Each employee is given the training, support and encouragement to be able to make their own decisions with confidence.

There is a structured career progression for all staff at our 62 managed houses. Training begins immediately for new recruits with the company's comprehensive Bronze Award induction scheme.

Candidates learn house manager and company responsibilities under health and safety, employment, food hygiene and licensing laws; and how to quickly become productive members of staff.

The Bronze Award infuses employees with confidence, skills and high esteem and, since their introduction in 2003, staff turnover rates have improved dramatically by 40%.

Further along the career path, Shepherd Neame has addressed an unacceptable turnover of assistant manager level staff and set-up a 30-week programme combining Bii and NVQ qualifications with in-house workshops designed to focus on core skills.

Thirty-nine candidates took the course last year and the results have been immediate and encouraging. The company has already appointed 23 of them as assistant managers and one has done so well she has been promoted again to manage her own <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>

London pub. New licensing legislation has caused a potential headache for all publicans but Shepherd Neame is well ahead of the game, providing each of its 370 licensees with specialised training, guidance and subsidies in a package worth £1,000 to each pub. Chefs have enormous opportunities to shine within the Shepherd Neame estate, which prides itself on its quality pub restaurants, sourcing the best produce from local suppliers in its ‘Local Food from Local People' initiative. Talented individuals can be running one of our kitchens within two years of leaving college. They are learning from the best - TV chef Phil Vickery, on a two-year contract with the company to develop its local food sourcing policy regularly holds "masterclasses" with Shepherd Neame catering staff, to teach them how to get the best out of Kent produce. This search for quality, both in provenance and presentation, extends to Master of Beer, an in-house course that teaches key members of staff to appreciate the distinct flavours of different beers, understand the brewing process and learn how to present different products to their best advantage. Licensees have gone on to arrange tutored beer tastings in their pubs showing customers how to match beers with different kinds of food. All these initiatives come together in Shepherd Neame's annual Pub Awards. Successful licensees are rewarded not just with the respect of their peers, but also with attractive prizes, such as holidays and West End theatre visits. Shepherd Neame's philosophy is to invest in its staff, trust in their talents, and to encourage them to share in the success of a business that has bucked the industry trend by growing year-on-year for three decades. Its a great success story - and a great place to work. Click here to find out how your company can enter best places to work in hospitality
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