It might seem difficult to believe but it’s nearly time for the first succsessful Personal Licence Holder trainees to carry out their refresher training. Claire Amber Young found out what that will mean and spoke to training providers about what training can do for retail.
Consultation responses revealed that many people would opt for a shortened version of the personal licence holder refresher programme if it was available.
IS it time to fizz up your drinks licence? If you were one of the first to complete the training, take the exam and gain the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders then by the end of next year you will have to complete refresher training.
A consultation into the content and delivery of the overall personal licence holder qualification has come to an end, and responses submitted by the industry as part of the process will bring about changes in the qualification, and influence the refresher course.
In March last year, sector skills council People 1st was commissioned by the Scottish Government to review the personal licence holder qualification in Scotland, and to consider how personal licence holder refresher training should be implemented in line with the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
Queen Margaret University was also involved in the consultation, and lecturer in leisure and hospitality, Marc Robertson, set up the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders website, scplh.info, which provides guidance and advice on training for the main qualification and the refresher training.
Robertson told Scottish Grocer that the vast majority of responses gathered as part of the consultation process, which included comment from the Scottish Grocers’ Federation and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, was positive.
“The consultation asked whether or not the qualification should be changed, and the vast majority of respondents said that it worked well and that they liked what it was doing,” he explained.
“The personal licence holder qualification has been very successful in what it’s set out to do and it’s proved to be very popular with people from a trade perspective.”
Consultation responses revealed that many people would opt for a shortened version of the personal licence holder refresher programme if it was available. So, the refresher programme will now be a one-hour course with 40 questions at the end.
The requirement for refresher training came through the enforcement of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 on 1 September 2009. Anyone with a personal licence who achieved his or her qualification after 1 September 2009 has up to five years plus a three-month grace period to prove refresher training has been carried out, and must submit that information to the licensing board.
Anyone who gained their licence between 1 March 2008 and 1 September 2009, in what was known as ‘the transitional period’, will have to complete the refresher training before 1 December 2014.
The date by which refresher training should be completed should be calculated from when the licence was issued. But if the holder isn’t sure, the SCPLH website can calculate the date and will send an email as a reminder.
It also sends email alerts when there’s any change in licensing law pertaining to training.
The consultation has led to changes in reading material that’s used. The handbook for the main personal licence holder qualification and for the refresher is now the same, which helps keep costs down for the trade, Robertson said.
There will also no longer be a differentiation between the PLH course and the PLH off-sales option – there will just be one qualification across the board.
“We went where the evidence took us, there was no agenda there,” said Robertson.
“The vast majority of the people were in favour of that. It will help reduce confusion for the industry.”
Training programmes will be up and running by 1 August 2013.
In another development brought about by the consultation, anyone who will be providing personal licence holder training must use an agreed framework – the delivery and assessment strategy – as a guide. The strategy has been put in place, Robertson said, in response to what some see as significant differences in the training provided in the past.
“The quality of training delivered was variable, ranging from good to appalling, so we had to think of ways to improve the quality of training and to make it more even,” he said.
“The strategy gives guidance on how training should be provided, for example it suggests training should be interactive and class sizes relatively small.”
• Training provider Ramsay McGhee Training will be starting the refresher training from this August. Ramsay McGhee says personal licence holders shouldn’t leave their refresher training till the last minute.
“Failure to carry out your refresher training and submit proof to the licensing board could well result in your personal licence being revoked,” he said.
• Drinks regulations-linked training is important but it isn’t the only issue, Twist Training’s Jo Worral told Scottish Grocer.
“The need for training in areas such as licensing is well-understood by Scottish stores, but are there other areas of training need in retail that are poorly identified or addressed?
“Customer service is always an area that could be improved – it’s not just about this visit but the next and the one after that and great service can ensure your customers keep coming back to your store, not another that is also convenient.”
But there are signs that retailers are understanding and addressing that, which she finds very encouraging.
“Owners and managers are now looking for a succession plan and are investing in their staff again which is great to see,” she said.
“An annual training plan allows you to budget to keep on top of statutory demands and allows you and your staff to have a view of their progression for the year ahead – especially useful if you are looking to promote from within.
“Three full-timers and eight part-timers could be trained in all statutory requirements for less than £1,000, increasing to double that to introduce a comprehensive management training package for those that needed it. However you can get some of this money back from funding.
“Funding is available for smaller businesses from Skills Development Scotland in the form of flexible training opportunities and Individual Learning Accounts.”