Oakman Inns pub operator gets Royal seal of approval

SMIDS Peter Borg-Neal, CEO Oakman Inns with some of his team
SMIDS Peter Borg-Neal, CEO Oakman Inns with some of his team

What do Oakman Inns, Waitrose, Barclays, BAe and the Co-Op all have in common?

Oakman Inns & Restaurants, which operates hugely popular pub restaurants in Northants, Bucks, Beds, Herts, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and beyond is among the 40 recipients of The Princess Royal’s Training Award, organised by the City & Guilds Group.

SMIDS Jill Scatchard, HR Director, Oakman Inns & Restaurants

SMIDS Jill Scatchard, HR Director, Oakman Inns & Restaurants

Recipients cover the full spectrum of HR responsibilities including public and private sector businesses and are from industries that include hospitality, healthcare, finance and manufacturing.

The exceptional award-winning businesses, selected from a list of 116, will be honoured by HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony due to take place this autumn. The award recognises Oakman Inns for creating a lasting impact by successfully linking their skills development needs to business performance. Each of the 116 applications were assessed against three Hallmarks of Excellence by the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, which comprised of HRH The Princess Royal and seven leading figures in the business and training community.

Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group said: “From household brands to leading charities, employers of all sizes across the UK are seeing real and tangible benefits of training and developing their people. The Princess Royal Training Awards provide both recognition and the opportunity to share best practice and its impact. I congratulate the 40 successful organisations who achieved the standard required by the Award in 2017. They are worthy recipients of this prestigious and rigorous royal award and we are delighted to be able to deliver it through the City & Guilds Group.”

Now in its second year, the Princess Royal Training Awards honours employers in the UK who have created outstanding training and skills development programmes which have resulted in exceptional commercial benefits. The Princess Royal Training Awards recognise the achievement of a standard of excellence rather than selecting overall winners.

Applications were assessed against three Hallmarks of Excellence:

Training and learning and development is integral to business performance

The programme is delivered efficiently and effectively

The programme has an impact on the success of the organisation and its people

Oakman Inn’s HR director, Jill Scatchard, said: “This is a recognition of the time and effort that Oakman Inns has invested in creating our in-house online training academy – Oakmanology – which involves everyone. Its skill development modules are taken by everyone from the main board down and since we introduced it four years ago, it has helped reduce our staff turnover by 43%.”

Oakman’s CEO, Peter Borg-Neal added: “We are thrilled to discover that we are the only pub group recognized by the Awards Commission. We are a people business and employ an average of 40 at each of our sites. We want them to be passionate and proud of what they do and having just completed on our 20th pub, we are committed to continuing the development of our range of training schemes so that we not only produce the managers of the future but give each one of our team members an opportunity to ‘learn a living’.”

Oakman Inns’ HR training and career development programmes were recognised earlier this year in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For in which they are the highest-ranking hospitality company at 8th position.

The company, which was founded by Mr Borg-Neal in Tring with it’s first establishment The Akeman, also has the Kings Arms, Berkhamsted, Banyers House, Royston, Beece House, St Albans, The Red Lion at Water End Hemel Hempstead across Herts and runs the White Hart at Ampthill in Beds, Beech House in Beaconsfield, Dog & Badger at Medmenham, The Akeman Inn in Kingswood and Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne as part of its Bucks portfolio.

Oakman also runs the The Navigation at Thrupp Wharf, Cosgrove, Northamptonshire, The Crown & Thistle in Abingdon, the The Old Post Office, Wallingford and the Blue Boar, Witney, as part of its Oxon venues as well as The Globe in Warwick and the Four Alls, Welford on Avon, in Warwickshire.

The highly-regarded company has pub restaurants in the West Midlands, Berkshire and Essex and will soon add Beech House in Amersham and Cherry Tree, Olney, Milton Keynes to its Bucks operation.