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Thu 30th Sep 2021 - Scottish vaccine passport appeal fails, apprenticeship deadline looms
Appeal by Scottish nightclub owners to halt government’s covid vaccine scheme fails: A bid by nightclub bosses in Scotland to derail the government’s vaccine certificate roll-out has been rejected. A judge has turned down a request for an interim order on the scheme, which would have stopped it coming into effect at 5am on Friday (1 October). The appeal was brought by the Night Time Industries Association in Scotland, which claimed ministers were acting unlawfully by introducing vaccine passes, which will apply to nightclubs and large scale events. But Lord Burns refused the petition in the Court of Session, ruling that the complainants were not able to demonstrate that the scheme is disproportionate, irrational or unreasonable – nor that it restricts human rights. All of which means from 5am on Friday, people going to nightclubs and large-scale events in Scotland will still have to prove they have had two coronavirus vaccine doses. But Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has already said that businesses will have a two-week period of grace and not face the threat of enforcement action for non-compliance until Monday, 18 October. Earlier this week, trade body UKHospitality warned the public is “not ready” for such a scheme. “One of the critical factors that has not really been talked about is just how ready the public is for the introduction of these passports – I would say they are not ready at all,” said Leon Thompson, UKHospitality’s executive director for Scotland. “We've repeatedly asked the Scottish government for some public information campaign to run so that businesses, front-of-house staff, when they are talking to customers at midnight or whenever checks are taking place, they know that the public will have the details on what they need, and they will have their certificates ready. But there's been no public information put out, so it has very much been left to businesses to manage this, and that is one of the big concerns, particularly for the first weekend of the introduction.”

Final day for operators to be able to take on new apprentices where financial incentive is paid: Operators are being remined that today (Thursday, 30 September) is the final day to be able to take on new apprentices where a financial incentive will be paid by the government. Operators could be eligible for a £3,000 cash injection for every apprentice they take on before the end of today. To apply, employers need to set up an account on the Apprenticeship Service prior to the apprentice being enrolled. They can log back into the system afterwards to claim the incentive. With the industry facing severe staffing shortages, suppliers have been looking for share their expertise to help operators overcome the issue. For example, Heineken UK has drawn on the expertise of its Star Pubs & Bars division to share advice and top tips for upskilling and enabling current staff to reach their full potential. These include promoting and developing existing staff, with well-trained employees being typically happier and more loyal. Heineken said adopting a blended approach to training allows operators to access many different resources to train their staff, including e-learning for pre-entry topics such as food safety or age verification, which can save time with new staff. A Heineken spokesman said: “Evaluate what sort of training will drive the most return on investment for your business. For example, if you run a drinks-led pub, then ensuring your bar staff can speak knowledgeably and deliver a consistent quality serve every time will help increase sales and reduce wastage costs. E-learning allows employees to gain knowledge on a wide range of topics, often in their own time so they can manage their learning. A multi-trained team will be able to support each other during busy periods, for example with front of house staff who are cross-trained to support in the kitchen during busy periods. This can lead to a better, happier working environment, as well as higher customer satisfaction. On-job training can be supported by using apprenticeships or placements and the government’s Kickstart Scheme.” Heineken said operators that need to fill new roles can take some “simple, lower cost measures” including contacting previous colleagues who may be looking for a change and considering candidates from their last recruitment drive who may not have made the final cut due to timing or other external factors. The spokesman added: “It’s also beneficial to incentivise your existing team with bonuses to help drum up carefully considered talent. If you already have cracking members of staff then chances are they will know friends or family members who share the same values, principles and interests. Just make sure you only fulfil the finder's reward after the new hire has completed at least three months’ service! Personality and the ability to deliver great customer service is critical in hospitality, so it’s important not to focus solely on skills, qualifications and experience. When you do find a potential candidate, it’s worth thinking about how they will fit in with the rest of your team and ultimately with what your business stands for. Trial shifts are a great way to assess someone’s capabilities, but ensure you pay them for their time.”

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