On 14th August, The City and Guilds Group announced that pub group, Oakman Inns, owner of three family-friendly pubs in Oxfordshire - Crown & Thistle Abingdon, Old Post Office in Wallingford and The Blue Boar in Witney - will be one of just 43 recipients from 39 organisations who will be presented with the annual Princess Royal Training Award in November.
This is the second time that the independent pub group, which employs over 1,000 people to run its 28 pubs across Southern England and the West Midlands, has been recognised for their training programme in the Award's five-year history.
The Princess Royal Training Awards recognise those UK companies that have created outstanding training and development programmes which have made a direct and provable impact on their employer’s business performance. The 2020 winners demonstrated exceptional commitment to training, despite facing unprecedented challenges of Covid-19.
Oakman's CEO, Dermot King said: “We have always had a straightforward philosophy. We are in the hospitality business, and our 28 town centre and country pubs rely on our teams to be enthusiastic in their work and enthused by the standards of service we are consistently striving to achieve for our guests. Since receiving the Award in 2017 for our pioneering online learning and career development platform, the growth of our business has resulted in our employee numbers doubling. This required us to scale up our programme to meet the changing needs of both our business objectives and those of our team members. As a result, employee turnover has fallen by 16% while internally promoted chef numbers have increased by 34%.”
Oakman Inns’ HR Director, Jill Scatchard, said: “Oakmanology 2020 provides the framework and tools to consistently deliver and measure the success of a wide variety of interactive learning courses in a safe and personalised environment. We have introduced mini modules such as the Pizzaiolo Mini Module to support our pizza offer and together with the choice of multiple languages and help for Dyslexic users, our increasingly diverse workforce can shape their careers at their own pace. In the workplace, their online training is reinforced with ‘on tap’ practical guidance by our team of ‘Training Ninjas’ who are graduates of our unique ‘Train the Trainer’ programme, delivering exceptional skills at site level.”
King added: “In the current pandemic crisis, our online programme has been critical to supporting our team members who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the additional challenges of Covid-19 training.”
The other recipients come from a wide variety of other public and private sector organisations such as healthcare, finance and manufacturing including HMRC, The Co-Op and Royal Mail Group.
Commenting on this year's recipients Kirstie Donnelly MBE, Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group, said: "Congratulations to all of the organisations who have achieved the Princess Royal Training Awards standard of excellence this year. We know that having a highly skilled workforce will be essential as we start to rebuild our economy post Covid-19, and, in increasingly uncertain times, making sure we invest in people has never been more important, nor has continuing to showcase the impact it has on organisational success."