As 17 Deputy Managers celebrated their graduation from Stonegate Pub Company’s Accelerator Programme last week, the pub company officially celebrated 300 deputy managers taking up managerial positions in what was the 24th graduation cycle from the course, part of its award-winning ‘Alberts Theory of Progression’ training scheme.

Between them, the group raised over £10,000 for UK Charities, taking the Accelerator Programme’s all-time total over the £350,000 mark.

Stonegate celebrated its 100th and 200th successful Accelerator graduates in events at the House of Commons in September 2016 and 2018, respectively. The company has now reached the 300 milestone in record time, just 10 months later, and with 125 Deputy Managers taking part in the course annually, it is clear the programme’s success rate is going from strength to strength.

The graduation ceremony saw each participant present the culmination of their work over the last four months to members of the Stonegate Learning and Development Team and HR Director, Tim Painter, before being presented with a certificate. All of the graduates were commended for their hard work and commitment for the duration of the course, however special merit went to Angelo Rabelo, Deputy Manager of Be at One in Putney, who graduated with the highest score, and to Leah Bowen, Holding Manager of the Hamstead in Birmingham, who raised more than £3,300 for the charity, Dogs for Good.

Angelo arrived in the UK only two years ago, from his home in Brazil. Determined to learn English, he decided a bar would be a fitting place to improve his skills. A graduate in Business, his aptitude was quickly noticed, and he was promoted to Deputy Manager of Be at One when Stonegate acquired the business. For his Accelerator presentation he submitted a detailed business plan to improve sales for his site. His assessors were so impressed, he has been given the go-ahead and the funding to implement his ideas.

Angelo said: “My dream is to become an Operations Director, so to graduate from Accelerator with such a result after only two years in the business and two years studying English, is amazing. I am looking forward to all the new opportunities my qualification will bring me and to one day move onto the Aspirations course to help me progress towards becoming an Area Manager. I didn’t dream I would be here when I landed in the UK such a short time ago!”

Leah joined Stonegate Pub Company seven years ago, working behind the bar. After she was put forward for the company’s entry-level training programme, Alberts Award, she came on in leaps and bounds. First, she took on Accolade training to become a Deputy Manager, then Accelerator, when she was so impressive that she was promoted to Holding Manager of the Hamstead before she graduated. The Learning and Development team were incredibly impressed with her fundraising initiatives that saw her take the top spot for any individual fundraiser on the programme since it began. To reach her total, Leah organised a range of events, from a dog show to an afternoon tea, and she also roped her two Team Leaders, Tara Logan and Matthew Fitzpatrick, into a sponsored sky-dive.

Leah said: “To take over the Hamstead officially is just incredible. It seems like only yesterday I was just getting started on my very first training course, and now I’m running my own business within Stonegate. I’m so proud of the confidence and skills I have developed since then. I never envisioned working in a pub would be my career, but now I can’t imagine anything else!”

Tim Painter, HR Director, said: “Congratulations to everyone who successfully graduated. They are a talented group of future managers who understand both our business and our culture. I am always delighted to see our employees rewarded for their efforts.

“Stonegate is dedicated to providing outstanding opportunities to all of our employees via the Albert’s Theory of Progression training scheme. Angelo and Leah are both examples of the exceptional calibre of people that make up Stonegate Pub Company and are a clear demonstration of the integral part our training programmes play in the development of their careers, and in our business strategy.”