Wallingford pub operator keeps it NITA

Oakman Inns, operators of The Old Post Office pub in Wallingford, received national recognition for their human resource programme on Tuesday 21 November, at the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs) held in London’s Cafe de Paris.
The NITAs celebrate those who have demonstrated training excellence and innovation in the licensed retail/pub sector. Oakman Inns won the award for The Best Casual Dining Training Programme having passed a rigorous first stage entry process, followed by a final judging assessment by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII). The assessment included a demanding process of presentations and interviews in front of a panel of industry experts last month.


Oakman Inns’ CEO, Peter Borg-Neal (pictured above with HR Director Jill Scatchard), said: “I am delighted for this recognition of the work Oakman has undertaken under the guidance and inspiration of our HR Director, Jill Scatchard, and Learning and Development Manager, Laura Douglas. We have already felt the impact on staffing of the Brexit decision and the fall in the value of sterling, so we are all having to work much harder and very quickly to enthuse, recruit and train the people we need for tomorrow.”

Oakman Inns has developed its own bespoke Online Craft Academy to support their growing teams with knowledge and experience. Reflecting the ethos and personality of the company, “Oakmanology” was designed from scratch by CPL Online to mirror the company’s existing HR programme and to support each employee’s progression in their chosen career pathway.

Learning activities are as visual as possible and after a compulsory ‘induction’ stage, all the craft modules are available 24/7 to every individual regardless of their job role or personal career journey. This inclusive, flexible approach means that everyone, whatever their role or passion, has access to a structured learning environment where they can find out about other roles and develop new, core skill-sets required for running a casual dining venue or pub.

Jill Scatchard, Oakman Inns’ HR Director, said: “Oakman has won many awards for our staff engagement; for the wide range of benefits we provide; and, most importantly, the career path we develop for our employees. Using the Oakmanology programme, the progress of each individual can be tracked in real time which is linked to an achievement-based incremental pay programme. We have seen more team members experiencing real personal growth and expressing a desire to progress within the company and make a career in hospitality.”

BII CEO, Mike Clist, commented: “The NITAs are a celebration of the most successful individuals and businesses in the licensed retail market today. Our finalists have shown that they value, support and champion their people by continuing to invest in and develop their training programmes. It’s vital that we recognise, reward and share their successes so that we can encourage further innovation in our fantastic industry for years to come. The use of new technology and the holistic approach to the way they design their training programmes, has benefitted their businesses from the ground up and directly impacted on financial performances, growth and staff retention – we congratulate them all.”

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