On Wednesday 4thSeptember, 12 General Managers from Stonegate Pub Company celebrated their graduation from ‘Aspirations’, the highest internal qualification offered by the Company.

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

Candidates undergo a 14-month training programme which consists of nine high-performance modules and a real-business project, presented to the Stonegate Executives at their graduation in order to prepare them for the leap into multi-site management.

One of the 12 Aspiration graduates, Jonathan Masterson, formally of Walkabout in Bournemouth, has already been promoted to Area Manager. He now oversees 11 Slug and Lettuce bars in the south of England.

Jonathan said: “I’m very excited about where I am in my career right now and look forward to fulfilling my role to the best of my ability over the next few years. I’m not sure what the future holds right now, but I really feel ready for it after everything I’ve learnt during Aspirations over the last year.”

Initially designed for pub General Managers looking to progress to Area Manager positions, this year’s cohort has seen Stonegate employees from various areas of the business participate. Senior Reporting Analyst, Harry Bailey, works in the Finance Department at Stonegate Head Office. However, his interest in the day-to-day running of pubs has meant that Harry aspires to become an Area Manager, hence his decision to enrol on Stonegate’s Aspirations training and development programme.  

Harry said: “I am extremely excited! I know it is an unusual route but it’s incredibly rewarding to be doing something different from the norm. The skills I have learnt throughout are so valuable to my progression to Area Manager. I’d encourage anyone to enrol on one of the training programmes- and there are many at Stonegate! I currently have a direct graduate on my team and the skills I’ve learnt I can then pass on to him which is invaluable to developing a stronger working team. The training has been so useful both in my current role and for future roles in the company.”

Tim Painter, HR Director said: “Congratulations to everyone who successfully graduated from Aspirations. Our graduates are all extremely talented employees who understand both our business and our culture. I am always delighted to see our colleagues rewarded for their efforts.

“It is the people at Stonegate that are the reason for the company’s success. Our bar to boardroom ethos is engrained in everything we do and our award-winning learning and development programme, Albert’s Theory of Progression, facilitates this strategy. I am proud to see that nearly half of our area management team is made up of Aspiration graduates. We are dedicated to providing outstanding career opportunities to all our team members and we are now reaping the benefits of staff turnover far below the industry average.”