A group of 45 apprentices and core staff from across Sunderland football club have completed a range of formal qualifications and graduated from their hospitality academy, thanks to a long-standing partnership between the north east club and national employability and skills provider, esg.
Students forming part of the club’s conference, banqueting and events team are the third batch of graduates to celebrate such an achievement since the academy was launched in 2007 when the esg.
and SAFC collaboration began. Initially starting as a scheme aimed at small numbers of staff within the executive division, it has since expanded and spread through all areas of the stadium. And now no fewer than 400 employees have passed through the programme, which is the largest of any similar venue in the UK, and the first of its kind in UK.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, which was held at the Stadium of Light on Friday 14 January, Head of Venue & Events, Gary Hutchinson said:
“The graduates celebrating today have put in lots of hard work and I congratulate them for that. I stand here very proud that so many of our staff have the drive, ambition and the will to succeed and achieve as they have. Many have already - or are about to - move onto further development within the academy scheme which is very pleasing to see”.
esg. management team try the dug out
Liam Doyle, Group Operations Director of esg.
also spoke at the event, praising the three-way relationship it takes to make a success of such a scheme:
“I’m honoured to be here to share in the celebration and to see what’s been accomplished at the academy again. Of course, these things don’t happen by chance. It’s taken hard work and an effective tripartite partnership involving the learners, the team at esg.
and the employer, Sunderland AFC, and we are very pleased to support them in the development of their services team. The club provides an excellent example of how the commitment of an employer can feed the development of its people and provide opportunities in the community. The academy also demonstrates how partnership with a training provider such as esg.
can build the capacity and success of a business while delivering on the national skills agenda”.
is one of the largest providers of work-based learning in the UK, helping over 20,000 learners a year to gain formal vocational training and progress within the workplace.