Successful Hotel Group Books Top Quality Training Thanks to Swatpro Academy
Swatpro work with many SMEs to provide training and run apprenticeships. But they also work with many larger clients, helping companies who have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy to train staff and administer apprenticeships.
The Apprenticeship Levy is paid by firms with an annual wage bill of more than £3m, and unless these employers use the Levy on apprentices, HMRC reclaims the money.
Not that Mary-Ann Fudge, training and development manager at TLH Leisure Resort in Torquay needs much incentive to set up apprenticeships.
“I only wish I could offer them to more young people, but there needs to be a business case for each apprenticeship we run.
“We’ve found our apprentices generally want to stay with us and they have made a significant impact to the business. I have to say I’ve been very impressed.”
TLH Leisure Resort are a linked chain of 4 family hotels in the Devon resort and contained within the business is the Aztec Leisure brand providing pools, spas, gyms, bars and bistros for both guests and the general public.
It’s a multi-role business, and Mary-Ann takes on apprentice commis chefs and administrators every year, as well as training up staff as managers. TLH Leisure Resort currently has 7 apprentices working towards the new Apprenticeship Standards in these disciplines.
The majority of TLH Leisure Resort training is undertaken by Swatpro Academy, based just up the road from TLH in Exeter. They have worked with the company for more than a decade.
“I’ve not a bad word to say about Swatpro Academy,” Mary-Ann says, “They’ve been professional, dedicated, highly organised and they’ve mentored our apprentices in their personal as well as professional development.”
Training is undertaken on site by Swatpro Academy’s Del Anning, but support is available outside these hours from the Academy office.
“If I have a query or problem, I know I can contact them. Communication has been excellent,” Mary-Ann adds.
“When the Levy came in, explanation from the government as to what it meant for companies like ours was woeful. Websites were confusing, especially the official one.
“Luckily, Swatpro Academy were able to cut through the jargon and officialese and help us use the new system.”
So how are TLH Leisure Resort finding the new Apprenticeship Standards?
“I have to say they’ve been terrific,” Mary-Ann enthuses, “They are giving our trainees the practical skills they need in a depth that was not covered before, and the end-point assessment will be a useful tool in judging that they have reached the standard we require.”
Mary-Ann is optimistic that the 400-employee business will continue to prosper from the trend towards quality British holidays, and benefit from the spate of developments under way in the Torbay area that are bringing new business to its hotels.
She’s optimistic as well about the skill set of TLH Leisure Resort staff, thanks to the bespoke, people-based approach of Swatpro Academy. She says:
“Swatpro Academy is definitely one we hope to be working with for a long-time yet. Quite simply, they are really, really good.”