The UK’s night-time economy, including bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, is said to earn revenues of around £70 billion* a year. Its workers are also at the forefront of ensuring consumers take a responsible approach to alcohol, and this is the guiding ethos behind the SABMiller Scholars Programme.
At the end of November, recent graduates of the programme were invited to the House of Commons, in Britain’s Parliament, for a special awards ceremony. The invitees each received awards in recognition of having completed their training and then applying it at their place of work with outstanding success. They represent a small sample of the 1,700-plus people who have taken part in the programme in 2015, all of whom have earned themselves a nationally recognised BIIAB Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing (ARAR).
The awards were presented by Jonathan Lord, Member of Parliament for Woking (where our UK HQ is based), together with Sally Keeble, the programme’s patron and a former government minister. Speaking at the event, Jonathan Lord MP noted: “We need to ensure the rules on under-age drinking and irresponsible consumption are enforced, and bar staff and retailers have an important role to play in discouraging irresponsible drinking. This kind of investment is important to ensure we promote a responsible drinking culture, so that our communities and the night-time economy avoid the problems which come from alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.”
The award ceremony also provided a perfect opportunity to launch our latest report on the Scholars Programme and its impact. The report, introduced by Gary Haigh, Managing Director of Miller Brands (UK), re-states the pledge we’ve made to the UK government to put 10,000 bar and retail employees through this training by the end of 2016.
How the Scholars Programme works
The Scholars Programme was launched in 2009 and is run in conjunction with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII). It provides free tuition designed to give staff working in licensed premises a greater understanding of the legal framework within which they operate. This in turn gives them the confidence to do their bit to ensure alcoholic drinks are bought and sold responsibly. The programme is aimed specifically at smaller pub and retail chains, since many of these do not possess the time or budget to train their staff in this area.
After the UK Home Office launched its Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) initiative in 2014, the programme was adapted to specifically target the 20 areas covered by the LAAA, while also incorporating a bespoke course on conflict management into the programme, at the Home Office’s request
Since its launch, the programme has reached more than 6,500 individuals working in the licensed trade. It has been endorsed by the UK Department of Health, while drawing praise from participants as well as from numerous senior figures within local and national government.
*Source: Trends Business Research Ltd