THE boss of an expanding pub group has invested heavily in training programmes to encourage more people to choose a career in hospitality.

Kirsty Ridge, the managing director of Lakeland Inns, wants more job seekers to consider the industry as a long-term employment option and has developed the mentoring service offered at the six pubs across Cumbria she owns.

By implementing more sophisticated training software within the pubs and offering more appealing career progression opportunities and staff incentives, Ms Ridge is hoping more people will follow her lead into the food and drink sector.

She said: “People need to understand that hospitality is a career, and there are lots of opportunities to grow, learn and develop within the industry.

“My example is the best I can use. I left school at 16, and now I’m running a successful and growing group of pubs.

“With work-based learning, there’s so much scope to progress and have a really successful career in hospitality, and we want to invest in our future workforce.”

Training opportunities within Lakeland Inns include NVQs and apprenticeships in the hospitality and food and drink sectors, with numerous opportunities to upskill on the job available too.

Work-related incentives range from annual pay increases to encourage longevity and 30 per cent staff discounts on food and drinks at Lakeland Inns venues. The company also offers flexible working hours.

“There are various opportunities to work for Lakeland Inns and work your way up the career ladder, and we’re keen to help people improve their skills to achieve this,” said Ms Ridge.

“It is important that staff feel valued, and creating these opportunities is our way of showing that we really want to help people realise their potential within the industry.”

Several job opportunities have been created across the pubs in the Lakeland Inns portfolio - The Sun Inn, Ulverston; The Black Cock, Broughton; The Royal Oak, Spark Bridge; The Commodore, Grange-over-Sands; The Royal Oak, Curthwaite and The Clarkes Hotel, in Rampside.

There are also vacancies at the pub chain’s brewery, Lakeland Brewhouse, in Ulverston, following a £250,000 expansion to increase production levels.

To find out more, email or contact 01229 585044.