Pub offers unlikely venue for learning

Pupils outside the Boat Inn

Students from a Derbyshire secondary school have found an unusual venue for weekend learning by taking part in a number of employability workshops in their local pub.

Twelve students from Anthony Gell School in Matlock have been giving up their Sunday mornings to learn a range of employability skills including team working, managing projects, communication, presentation, CV writing and interviewing for success.

The initiative is the brainchild of Professor Jo Andrews from Birmingham City University and Dave Mountford, the licensee of the Boat Inn, Cromford, which has been the host pub for the venture. The idea took off when Dave offered the function room in his pub to be used for the benefit of the local community. Jo took the idea one step further by suggesting that in the interests of diversifying the pub's services to the local area the function room could be used as a resource for employability skills workshops.

Seven workshops have now taken place, all supported by a Social Enterprise grant, and the British Institute of Inn Keeping [BII] has added its support by providing a compulsory workshop on Alcohol Awareness.

David Baker, Head Teacher at Anthony Gell School, has enthusiastically supported his students in their workshop participation. He said: “We have been delighted to be part of this programme and I know that our students have really enjoyed the sessions and benefited from them. I have been so impressed with the commitment of our students to attend on Sunday mornings and would like to thank Jo for the excellent delivery of this innovative programme."

Tim Hulme, Chief Executive of the British Institute of Inn Keeping, added: “We are delighted to support this exciting new venture, not only by delivering our own Alcohol Awareness workshop, but also through highlighting the extensive career opportunities currently on offer in the British pub and hospitality industry.”

The next cohort of students to participate in the initiative will be the '19-25 LIVE at The Hive' student body from Birmingham's Wilson Stuart School, with the host pub being Aston Villa's Holte pub. Ravi Masih, Head of Villa in the Community, added: "Employability is an important issue for young people in Birmingham and this is a unique way to address the issue with a focused market in mind. This programme allows us to use our fantastic Holte pub in a novel way and build upon our existing strong relationship with Wilson Stuart School."

With the level of interest shown in the venture so far, combined with the substantial support of the British Institute of Inn Keeping, Jo Andrews and Dave Mountford are confident that their initiative will be in further demand next year and will soon become a nationally delivered programme.

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