Learning Curve Institute is a Westport based company that has just developed and delivered a well received and innovative program targeting the responsible service of alcohol in the hospitality trade. On the team is Padraic Hanley a native of Castlebar, now residing in Co. Leitrim.
The staff of the Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar undertook a Responsible Service of Alcohol course this month. The hotel is the first to carry out such training in the midlands region. The three-hour workshop focused on providing staff with the necessary skills to cope with situations arising from working in the industry.
Training of this kind is a legal requirement in countries like Australia, North America, and the Netherlands and has been for many years. Taking into account some recent history, there seems to be a distinct need for it in Ireland too. "I was very surprised to hear that the Annebrook House Hotel is one of the first establishments in the Midlands to receive this training. I feel this course should be a legal requirement in this country and I'm shocked that so many bar staff in this region are not trained in the area of responsible service,'' said Laura Boyle, sales and marketing manager at the hotel.
The course was delivered by Padraic Hanley and Seán Foy of the Learning Curve Institute. The Learning Curve Institute is an independent body that provides FETAC level courses in a variety of areas. The staff of the Annebrook House Hotel were delighted to welcome the pair. "I really enjoyed the workshop. Unlike some courses I've done before, it was based on our experiences and our views. We got to chat about situations that could arise and how best we can deal with them," said Seamus Dunne, just one of the key bar staff members that attended the course. "There is no set formula. We can't go in and give everyone a one size fits all approach. That is why discussing it and talking openly about what we can do, and approaches that staff themselves use, is so hugely important," said programme coordinator Padraic Hanley.
The course offered insight to the staff as to the hazards associated with nightclubs and bars offering drinks at very low prices. The proprietor of the Annebrook House Hotel, Berty Dunne, said, "It's a worry for me. We're a family run hotel here. My four kids are at the age where they're going out and socialising in some of these places. To think that they could go out, with just a few quid in their pocket, and drink vodka and red bull all night terrifies me."
Berty, who has worked in the hospitality industry since adolescence, has seen his fair share of the ill effects of drinking. "I hear stories in the news and I just think- that could have been prevented." Berty believes education is the way forward for this industry. He added, "we are delighted here at the Annebrook House Hotel to have been able to offer this opportunity to our staff and to give them the necessary skills to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our patrons at all times."