Act now to avoid the refresher training trap

Operators should start planning new PLH courses now, say providers

• Refresher training is mandatory for all personal licence holders after five years.

WITH the publication of new requirements for the Personal Licence Holder (PLH) qualification a couple of months ago, training is once again on the licensed trade’s radar.

Personal licence holders are required by the Act to undertake refresher training every five years, within three months from the date the licence was issued; those with personal licences issued before September 1, 2009, are required to treat that as the start-date for the period, meaning they must complete refresher training by September 1, 2014 at the latest.
With the refresher training deadline for the first raft of personal licence holders looming, training providers contacted by SLTN advised operators to act now.
“It is a mandatory condition for operators to have completed this training and there is only a three-month period of grace if you miss your deadline,” said Ruth Wither, learning and development director at Flow Hospitality Training.
“The penalty for not having successfully completed your refresher training is that your personal and premises licence could be taken away.”
Joanne Worrall, director of Twist Training, said operators should already be planning their training schedules to ensure staff are fully qualified.
“Once you know when the training is due you can sit the training anytime three months either side so it’s time to chose your provider and book into the training,” she said.
“There are so many due in September 2014 that many courses will be booked up; also if you leave it until last minute you may end up paying more.”
A refresher course will last at least three hours and includes a 40-question multiple-choice test covering many of the aspects of the full SCPLH exam, including an overview of the licensing function, social responsibility and protecting children from harm.
But compulsory training is only a small part of the picture, say training specialists.
Kate Tetley of People 1st, the sector skills council for the hospitality industry and the organisation that drafted the new SCPLH training specifications, said training can be an effective tool for motivating staff. “A 2011 People 1st Training Company survey revealed that 69% of respondents felt more valued by their company when they were given the choice to do more training; 53% also said that training opportunities would make them work even harder,” she said.
Alice Cardwell Hodges, international development director at the BII, underlined the benefits of staff training.
“There is far more to working in a pub than pulling a pint, and in order for a business to succeed, it is essential that its employees are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and customer focused,” she said.
Staff morale isn’t the only benefit of investing in additional staff training, however.
Paul Chase, of training provider CPL, said ongoing training is essential to creating a point of difference.
“The recession and growing competition for the leisure pound, not least from home-based entertainment, means the end of mediocrity,” he said. “It means that operators have to focus on ensuring that their customers get a fantastic experience. That, in turn, means training staff in all the ‘softer skills’ – customer service, going the ‘extra mile’ – so that customers get the ‘wow factor’.”