Pub manager Tracey Pounds has worked for Wetherspoon for the past 10 years, having joined the company initially with minimal qualifications.
Tracey, who took over as pub manager at The Green Ginger (Torquay) in May 2017, has since completed her diploma in leisure retail management (July 2018) and gained her BA Hons Management Practice in 2019, all while working for and supported by Wetherspoon.
Tracey’s daughter Rebecca Marlin also works for the company as a part-time team leader at The Postern Gate (York), while studying for her degree at the University of York and The Green Ginger (Torquay) while at home.
Tracey reported: “Rebecca is working towards her degree in the conventional way, at university, and has acquired up to ￡50,000 of student debt.
“What has amazed me the most about my studies is that it hasn’t cost me a single penny, thanks to Wetherspoon.
“I would highly recommend this opportunity to any manager.”
Tracey’s course was funded by the company, including paid time off to study.
She continued: “I left school at 16 with basic O level qualifications, before studying for a general catering course at my local college in Chesterfield – with no plans to study for a degree.
“I worked in a few catering roles, had a family (five children) and joined Wetherspoon as an associate, working my way up.
“I became a duty manager and progressed at The London Inn (Torquay), taking on my first pub, The Vigilance (Brixham), where I stayed for two years, before a big challenge came up at The Green Ginger.
“In my three years at The Green Ginger, I started my diploma, since I wanted to get something extra back from the hard work which I had put in.
“I had the time and support from my family, as my children are now all adults, as well as from my pub team and the company, to help me to expand my knowledge.
“After completing that course, the opportunity to top up the diploma to a degree was offered… and I jumped at the chance.
“While both courses have been challenging and eye-opening – it has been an amazing experience, during which I have met some lovely people.
“The work has been hard at times, however I have had a good time completing the degree.”
Katy Wade, Wetherspoon’s senior recruitment & qualifications manager, said: “Tracey is a great example of a manager who wholly understands the benefits of keeping her team motivated and encourages them to be the best they can be.
“She has some of her own team enrolled on the Wetherspoon apprenticeship programme, at levels 2 and 3, and has led by example by completing her own qualification – while working.
“The degree apprenticeship is offered in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and is a challenging (yet rewarding) course to complete.
“All of our degree students complete a project, in which they investigate and present an improvement opportunity within the business.
“We have seen some fantastic degree projects and have already implemented some of these recommendations in Wetherspoon.
“All of our graduates should feel extremely proud of their individual achievements.
“Not only have they gained a degree apprenticeship, but they have also been assessed by the Chartered Management Institute and, in turn, become chartered managers.”