Gordon has visited the newly refurbished Manchester Pub on the Promenade to round off a series of national and local activities for National Apprenticeship Week. Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

He met first with Stonegate’s Area Manager Craig Southall, who has a number of other pubs with the company across Blackpool – including the Dutton Arms and The Saddle. Craig said the £150,000 worth of investment at the Manchester had allowed them to change the layout of the pub, but also tailor it more towards families.

Gordon was then introduced to Deputy Manager Brett Cardwell, who came through the ranks on Stonegate’s Accolade and Accelerator’s training scheme after leaving Blackpool & Fylde College.

Gordon said: “Stonegate have put a lot of investment into Blackpool – not just into their pubs and other venues, but also the staff that work for them. Companies that do this always have greater staff retention and their employees always tell me they feel more valued. Last September I met Sean Bowd who had come through their training scheme and now runs the Dutton Arms in South Shore. Speaking to Brett, he told me he was also on a similar pathway and now up to deputy management level.

“Stonegate’s training schemes are quite concentrated and can be completed over a number of months. They also give their employees a mix of practical and personal skills. Both as the Shadow Skills Minister and local MP, I know how important the service sector is to Blackpool’s economy. That’s why it’s crucial that we have people like Brett who are well trained and equipped with the skills they need.

“A lot of the skills, particularly the personal skills Brett has learned on the scheme are often transferable and can be applied to other jobs. When we were chatting he mentioned a former colleague of his who was now working with people who had mental health problems. The skills they learnt with Stonegate were helping them in their new role.

“Before I left, both Brett and Craig said they were looking forward to a busy year with the tourist season just around the corner and Blackpool FC fans once again returning to Bloomfield Road now the boycott has been lifted.”

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