Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King named as VQ Employer of the Year

From left, Dave Haworth, Graham Briggs, Andy Wilson of Greene King following the 2015 VQ Awards cere

From left, Dave Haworth, Graham Briggs, Andy Wilson of Greene King following the 2015 VQ Awards ceremony in London at which the company was named VQ Employer of the Year. - Credit: Archant

Pubs and brewing group Greene King has been named VQ Employer of the Year 2015, for its outstanding support for staff undertaking vocational qualifications (VQs).

The Bury St Edmunds-based company won the Large Employer category of the award last month and has now added the overall title, beating off competition from TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookery school, River Cottage.

Greene King established an apprenticeship programme in 2011 as part of a strategy to invest in both existing employees and newcomers to the business.

Since then, more than 3,000 employees have achieved nationally recognised qualifications, with 2,000 more expected follow within the next 12 months, and Greene King has seen a strong increase in staff retention.

Rooney Anand, chief executive at Greene King, said: “We are proud of our tradition of investing in our people, their skills and development and our apprenticeship programme has supported that commitment over the last four years.

“We are thrilled that our investment in employees has been recognised in this year’s VQ Awards. Not only do vocational qualifications help the individual achieve their career goals, but they also improve staff retention and productivity.”

The award, sponsored by City & Guilds, was presented by garden designer and television personality Diarmuid Gavin at a ceremony in London on June 9.

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The VQ Awards are held the evening before VQ Day, an annual event led by independent education charity the Edge Foundation which aims to celebrate vocational achievement.

David Harbourne, acting chief executive of the Edge Foundation, said: “Greene King has been named overall winner for this year’s VQ Employer of the Year Award for championing technical, practical and vocational skills within its workforce.

“It’s very important for us to recognise companies like Greene King that have invested in their people and practical learning. In doing so it sends a strong message about the value of vocational qualifications and training and the benefits they bring to both employers and the economy.”

David Morgan, City & Guilds director of marketing and customer experience, added: “City & Guilds are proud to sponsor the VQ Employer Award as it highlights the value of skills and training in driving growth in UK businesses.

“The standard of nominations in this category was very high and this is reflected in the truly outstanding achievements of the organisations being recognised today.

“We would like to say a huge congratulations to the winners in this category, Greene King, who have demonstrated a tangible link between investing in their people and greater business performance.”