Stonegate Pub Company, the 550-strong national pub operator, has opened its own development centre, known as Albert’s Academy.

The academy is based in Birmingham, as a central location in the UK, for all pub and field based staff to travel to. Located above Reflex on Broad Street, the centre will provide a multi-functional space for learning and development across all aspects of the business. A state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen and five individual kitchen training pods have been installed, alongside two training rooms known as ‘Albert’s Theatre’ and ‘Albert’s Study’ and a cellar training facility.

The facility will be used as the primary training space for Stonegate’s training programmes including Albert’s Accolade, Albert’s Award and Albert’s Aspirations, a course for general managers training to become area managers. The Company’s established Chef Training School, previously held at Westminster Kingsway and at Trafford College, will be relocated to Albert’s Academy. The centre will be managed by Kim Cattell, formerly team leader at Hogshead in Wolverhampton. It will be supported by satellite facilities around the country.

Lee Woolley, Stonegate Pub Company’s Head of Learning and Development said, “The investment in this new Academy demonstrates our desire to invest in the people within our business, developing their skillsets. We believe strongly that investing in our people leads to successful businesses and this centre will play a vital role in that.”

Explaining how the centre will benefit kitchen team development, Perry Huntley, Head of Food Development for Stonegate Pub Company commented, “Albert’s Academy will provide us with a superb training centre, giving us the flexibility to host supplier innovation days and focussed hands-on training sessions for our chef teams, without the need to utilise our pub kitchens or work around their trading hours. It means we can host very specific training sessions for our chefs which are relevant to them and their daily working life in the pub,” he added.

The centre officially opened on Thursday 1 November, with the first supplier innovation day held on Wednesday 7 November.