Publicans manage licensed premises, such as pubs, bars, clubs and wine bars. Their status with regard to the business varies:
Pub owners - buy the business and the building.
Lessees - lease the premises at an agreed rent from a brewery or pub management company (pubco). Depending on the terms of the lease, lessees are often responsible for repairs to the building during the period of the lease.
Tenants - rent the building, usually on a shorter term than a lease, and are responsible only for the fittings and for minor internal maintenance.
Employees - work on a salary basis for a brewery or pubco.
Tenants and lessees are often tied to selling the produce of the brewery or pubco.
The job can involve:
The hours of work are long and involve evenings and/or weekends, sometimes until the early hours of the morning.
Establishments vary widely in size, style and atmosphere, from relaxed country pubs to city-centre theme bars.
Pubs can be hot, noisy and crowded. The work requires long periods of standing, walking up and down stairs, and usually lifting and carrying crates and barrels.
Many publicans live in, making it difficult for them to get away from the working environment.
A publican training with a large brewery or pub chain may have to travel to different premises. Experienced publicans may need to relocate to a different part of the country to progress their careers.
The starting salary for a trainee manager may be from around £14,000 a year. Experienced managers and tenants may earn around £30,000 a year and the earnings of lessees and pub owners in successful establishments may exceed £50,000 a year.
Accommodation is sometimes available on the premises. Managers may receive benefits such as pensions, health schemes and performance bonuses, as well as tips and free meals on duty.
Lessees and owners can make capital gains by selling on their business at a profit.
There are around 60,000 publicans and managers of licensed premises in the UK, about 20 per cent of whom are self-employed. Although the proportion of employed managers has increased over the years, there are still good opportunities to become self-employed. The number of female publicans is increasing.
Information about specific companies can be found at www.beerandpub.com.
No specified academic qualifications are required, but the Diploma in hospitality may be relevant. There are various entry routes:
1. As a bar person, with progression to management.
2. Through an Apprenticeship in hospitality or food and drink service.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Those under 18 years cannot serve alcoholic drinks.
Some pubcos run management training schemes. Applicants should have both relevant experience and a foundation degree, BTEC HNC/HND, or degree in a relevant subject, e.g. business, marketing, and hospitality management with licensed retail.
Every publican must obtain a personal licence, which is available to people aged 18 or over who have a licensing qualification, usually the British Institute of Innkeeping Awarding Body (BIIAB), Education Development International (EDI) or Graded Qualifications Alliance (GQAL) Level 2 National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders.
Applicants for a personal licence have to declare any criminal convictions and undergo checks by the Criminal Records Bureau.
Owners also have to apply for a premises licence through their local council or licensing board, by submitting a detailed plan with proposed opening hours and provision for protection of the public and prevention of crime. They generally also have to invest financially in their own enterprise. For pub owners, tenants and lessees, this is often a second career.
Publicans are usually trained on the job and follow a structured training path. Some pub companies offer one or two-week training courses for people planning to take on premises. Prior discussion with an independent business adviser is recommended.
Trainees get marketing, management and brand-specific training. They are often sent to different establishments as relief managers before taking up a permanent position.
Recognised qualifications include:
People progressing from bar jobs can take the BIIAB Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing or the BIIAB Level 1 Certificate in Alcohol Awareness. These teach basic knowledge of the licensing law and can lead on to the Level 2 National Certificate for Personal Licence Holders.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A publican should be:
Publicans, whether self-employed or working for a pub chain, may move on to larger establishments or progress into regional management, in fields such as marketing, property or business development.
There may also be opportunities abroad.
British Beer & Pub Association, Market Towers,
1 Nine Elms Lane, London SW8 5NQ
Tel: 020 7627 9191
Education Development International,
International House, Siskin Parkway East,
Middlemarch Business Park, Coventry CV3 4PE
Tel: 08707 202909
People 1st, 2nd Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 817012
The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA),
10 Walker Street, Edinburgh EH3 7LA
Tel: 01895 857000
3 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8LP
Tel: 020 7497 8654
Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET),
International Wine & Spirit Centre,
39-45 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF
Tel: 020 7089 3800
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.