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Chris Hollingshead, General Manager at Slug and Lettuce in Newport, has graduated from ‘Aspirations’, the highest internal qualification offered by Stonegate Pub Company.

The graduation took place on Wednesday (4th September) and saw Chris and his colleagues present a year of hard work to the Stonegate Board of Executives.

The accolade is not just a career landmark, with successful graduates earmarked for Area Management, but their participation is an achievement in itself – Chris was one of only 12 managers selected to take part from across the 772 strong pub company this year.

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The 14-month journey Chris and his colleagues have undergone, has seen them complete 9 high-performance modules and a real-business project, to prepare them for the leap into multi-site management.

Since joining the industry, Chris has worked his way up through the hospitality internal hierarchy. When he joined Stonegate 11 years ago, he started out as a team member and had undergone all of Stonegate’s training programmes before landing his current General Manager role.

Having worked in several Stonegate pubs, Chris embodies the company’s bar to boardroom ethos and can bring his 16 years of industry experience to ensure his venue thrives in the community. Since taking over the General Manager position last September at Newport’s Slug and Lettuce, Chris has encouraged his team to enrol on the many training opportunities available to them to ensure he develops a strong working team. He also plans to initiate a number of fundraising projects in aid of the Children’s Ward in the area to showcase the venue’s support for the local community.

Chris said:

“The course has helped me expand my network, develop leadership skills and manage my current team a lot better, as well as prepare me for an Area Manager role. I can’t recommend Stonegate’s training programmes enough; I’ve completed them all and my current team are starting to apply for their own training courses now.

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“It’s been incredibly rewarding undergoing the training with like-minded colleagues who are equally career driven. To be completing Aspirations with them is empowering.

“I am a people person – I love the team aspect and social atmosphere of working in the pub industry. Being able to witness the joy of people socialising in a relaxed and friendly environment is truly gratifying. I hope to progress to Area Manager in the near future and take on the responsibility of more sites to ensure I can reinforce high standards of customer service in all the Stonegate venues that I look after.”

Tim Painter, HR Director of Stonegate Pub Company, said:

“It’s our people that make up the backbone of this company and we have them to thank for our success. Chris is a valued member of the Stonegate team and he sets the bar for the many exceptional employees that work with us. A huge congratulations to him from all of us here at Stonegate!”

Stonegate Pub Company’s award-winning learning and development programme, Albert’s Theory of Progression, that includes Aspirations, now sees more than half of its management team made up of graduates. The company is dedicated to providing outstanding career opportunities to all of its employees, siting the development of their careers as an integral part of its business strategy. This philosophy sees Stonegate keep its staff turnover far below the industry norm, and its focus on the training and development on its staff outstripping most other industries.

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Let’s hope the Stonegate takeover of ei pubs goes through

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