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Robinsons Brewery celebrate first graduate
(L-R) Robinsons Director (Pubs Division) William Robinson, George and Dragon chef Andrew Stirling and George and Dragon licensee Martin Barnes

Robinsons have today celebrated as Andrew Stirling, from the George and Dragon in Holmes Chapel, has become the first graduate of their Hospitality Apprenticeship Programme.

Robinsons and their partners Charnwood Training Group initially launched a series of apprenticeships covering bar staff, kitchen staff, management development and housekeeping in 2013. The apprenticeships, which are open to any pub, bar, hotel and restaurant in the North West, are funded by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Employer Ownership of skills pilot and developed in collaboration with North West pub and restaurant companies.

David Bremner, Director of Marketing for Robinsons Brewery said: “The aim was to create a modern apprenticeship programme with additional, relevant qualifications to meet the needs of modern pub retailing. After launching the Robinsons Perfect Pub (mystery visitor) scheme in 2012, the courses are the next step to ensuring excellence across our estate and providing tenants and staff with the tools to flourish in the today’s industry.

Andrew undertook a Level 2 Apprenticeship course in Team Leading over a 12 month period. The course enabled him to achieve a number of recognised qualifications that are designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective in licensed hospitality premises.

It really started out as a way to add another string to my bowexplains Andrew. “I had been in the trade for over 14 years and wanted the chance to step up another rung of the ladder. When Robinsons offered the apprenticeship, I jumped at the chance. It was very focused on learning about time management and stock keeping, as well as cellar management and customer service; it certainly taught me some new skills and refined some existing ones.

Andrew isn’t stopping there, as soon as he had graduated, he signed up to the Level 3 Apprenticeship in Hospitality Supervision and Management. 

Overall, I would say that the Apprenticeship has increased my confidence in the pub. It’s been an invaluable experience and I would recommend it to anyone in the hospitality industry. I’m looking forward to starting the next qualification and furthering my career within the industry.

Martin Barnes, tenant of the George and Dragon, Holmes Chapel said: “Apprenticeships are now an essential part of our pub.  They help us to improve our recruitment potential, our quality of training and our staff retention.  It keeps our team engaged and motivated, it gives them a sense of belonging, this then creates loyalty to the business. I couldn’t recommend them more!

William Robinson, Managing Director (Pubs Division) of Robinsons Brewery said: “When we embarked on this programme last year, we did so with the goal of helping to pave a career in hospitality and provide better prospects for those who work within the industry. The beer and pub industry alone contributes around £22 billion per year for the British economy, with £10 billion in tax revenue so it is important that we continue to nurture and cultivate talented workers and provide them with the tools they need to meet the high expectations and demand of the industry today. We are extremely proud to spearhead this fantastic programme and help others prosper within the Robinsons family of pubs and beyond.

The apprenticeship is open to any pub, club, restaurant, and Hotel in the North West – not just Robinson’s -If you have a member of staff of any age, working an average of 30 hours a week or more, who might be interested please e-mail:

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