Another major gong for popular pub-restaurant operator Oakman Inns

Just over two weeks after Oakman Inns was awarded the prestigious Princess Royal Training Award, their Human Resource programme received further recognition at the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs) at the Café de Paris in London.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th November 2017, 1:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:00 pm
SMIDS Oakman owner Peter Borg-Neal with HR Director Jill Scatchard
SMIDS Oakman owner Peter Borg-Neal with HR Director Jill Scatchard

The NITAs celebrate those who have demonstrated training excellence and innovation in the licensed retail sector.

Oakman Inns, which was started by entrepeneur Peter Borg-Neal in Tring, Herts, now has 20 contemporary Inns with letting rooms and ‘all-day’ pubs across Beds, Bucks, Herts, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and beyond.

And it is fast establishing itself as a leading operator in the industry having won the award for The Best Casual Dining Training Programme after passing a rigorous first stage entry process, followed by a final judging assessment by the British Innkeepers Institute (BII). The assessment included a demanding process of presentations and interviews in front of a panel of industry experts last month.

Oakman Inns’ CEO, Mr Borg-Neal, said: “I am delighted for this recognition of the work Oakman has undertaken under the guidance and inspiration of our HR Director, Jill Scatchard and Learning and Development Manager, Laura Douglas. We have already felt the impact on staffing of the Brexit decision and the fall in the value of sterling, so we are all having to work much harder and very quickly to enthuse, recruit and train the people we need for tomorrow.”

Oakman Inns, which owns and operates 20 distinctive pubs, restaurants and inns, has developed its own bespoke Online Craft Academy to support their growing teams with knowledge and experience. Reflecting the ethos and personality of the company, Oakmanology was designed from scratch by CPL Online to mirror the company’s existing HR programme and to support each Oakman employee’s progression in their chosen career pathway. Learning activities are as visual as possible and after a compulsory ‘induction’ stage, all the craft modules are available 24/7 to every individual regardless of their job role or personal career journey.

This inclusive, flexible approach means that everyone, whatever their role or passion, has access to a structured learning environment where they can find out about other roles and develop new, core skill-sets required for running a casual dining venue.

Jill Scatchard, Oakman Inns’ HR Director, said: “Oakman has won many awards for our staff engagement; for the wide range of benefits we provide; and, most importantly, the career path we develop for our employees. Using the Oakmanology programme, the progress of each individual can be tracked in real time which is linked to an achievement-based incremental pay programme. We have seen more team members experiencing real personal growth and expressing a desire to progress within the company and make a career in hospitality.”

BII CEO, Mike Clist, commented: “The NITAs are a celebration of the most successful individuals and businesses in the licensed retail market today. Our finalists have shown that they value, support and champion their people by continuing to invest in and develop their training programmes. It’s vital that we recognise, reward and share their successes so that we can encourage further innovation in our fantastic industry for years to come. The use of new technology and the holistic approach to the way they design their training programmes, has benefitted their businesses from the ground up and directly impacted on financial performances, growth and staff retention - we congratulate them all.”

The Oakman Collection comprises:


Walter Arms, Sindlesham


White Hart, Ampthill


Beech House, Beaconsfield

Dog & Badger, Medmenham

The Akeman Inn, Kingswood

Betsey Wynne, Swanbourne


King’s Head, Chipping Ongar

The Anchor, Hullbridge


Kings Arms, Berkhamsted

Banyers House, Royston

Beech House, St Albans

The Red Lion, Water End

The Akeman, Tring


The Navigation at Thrupp Wharf, Cosgrove


The Crown & Thistle, Abingdon

The Old Post Office, Wallingford

Blue Boar, Witney


The Globe, Warwick

Four Alls, Welford on Avon

West Midlands:

Beech House, Solihull


Beech House, Amersham

Cherry Tree, Olney Milton Keynes

Royal Foresters, Ascot