National Apprenticeships Week logo 2021

Build the Future: the apprentice who’s also a General Manager

The second of our apprentice celebrations, this National Apprenticeship Week, takes a look at the development of our General Manager and Level 4 Hospitality Manager apprentice Paul Goldsmith.

With his career already well underway – and a level 3 apprenticeship already under his belt – Paul was convinced of the value of the training and development. When the chance to complete a level 4 at The Sandpiper in North Ferriby, East Riding came up, he leapt at it.

We caught up with Paul to discuss his Marston’s experience and what it means to be an apprentice at this point in his career.

Paul Goldsmith General Manager at Marston'sWhat inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?

I actually started by working as a glass collector in a nightclub for a bit of extra cash at the age of 19, while I was at university. I decided I enjoyed the trade more than I did my university course, so started my progression towards becoming a manager. As I started to take on more commitments in life, I realised that pubs and restaurants were a better option for a family life and, in fact, more enjoyable.

You’re doing a Level 4 Hospitality Manager apprenticeship, but this isn’t your first rodeo is it?

I actually completed a level 3 apprenticeship over 12 years ago, before there was as much emphasis on it as there is today. For me, this previous experience, along with the knowledge of the job I am doing made [doing the level 4] a no brainer. I’m gaining an industry qualification for doing what I do, helping me to progress further – who wouldn’t want to do that?

The thing is, you’re already a General Manager so what inspired you to do another apprenticeship?

My Area Manager had recently completed his level 4 and was looking forward to his level 5. He was a great advocate of apprenticeships and, with my help, had signed up two team members in my pub for their level 3. I had shown interest in learning more and progressing and, as soon as the level 4 became available for General Managers, I jumped at the chance.

What’s the level 4 apprenticeship been like?

The apprenticeship has been great, it has helped to build my knowledge and understanding of the job I do. The training I have had has been in a variety of ways; tutor sessions on a one-to-one basis, webinar workshops with a group of like-minded managers studying their level 4, and skills days, where we delve deeper into different areas of responsibility. This, combined with the online platforms, has covered all the different learning styles and helped with my development.

Apprenticeships still have that reputation for being the sort of thing you do straight out of school, don’t they?

I also used to think that but changed my opinion after I realised that there’s always something new to learn in any trade [and apprenticeships offer the chance to learn it].

“There’s always something new to learn in every trade”

Where do you go from here?

I’ve progressed well in my career so far and think that, when I’ve fully completed the course, I’ll be ready to take on my next step. My next step would be to take on a bigger pub and then move on to a multi-site or Area Manager position. I’d also like to study a level 5 apprenticeship, when the time is right.

Tell us about The Sandpiper where you work.

The Sandpiper is a family friendly 2-for-1 pub/restaurant with full table service. Although we are on the edge of a business park, we attract all kinds of guests from local families from surrounding villages and professional people from the local business park to young groups, older couples and group celebrations.

We have a range of food and beverages on our menu to cater for all tastes, dishes vary from day to day, the most popular are scampi, pies and steaks. Our guests are loyal, we have lots of regular guests, that you can have a nice chat with.

“The best thing about working in a pub is the people. Most days, it’s just like having an extended family”

How is Marston’s as an employer? Tell us about the support you’ve had from Marston’s.

Marston’s is a fantastic employer, I have been helped with almost every aspect of my work and personal life. There is always someone at the end of the phone, if you need help, and there are steps to take if you want to progress.

What’s the best thing about working in a pub?

The people, the guests you see every day and the team you work with, it’s just like having an extended family.

Tell us about the COVID-19 situation and lockdown. How have you been able to use what you’ve learned so far?

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have been extremely hard, especially throughout the winter months. However, during the summer and through the re-opening in July I got the chance to use quite a few skills I’d learnt, especially around change management and risk management. I’m looking forward to using more of these once we re-open.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone on the first day of their Marston’s apprenticeship, what would it be?

I think the best advice I could give anyone starting their apprenticeship would be to make notes, record everything you do, even if it is just a couple of lines about your day, any issues you have encountered, any challenges you have faced and how you have overcome them. That way, you can look back, discuss them with your tutor and use them as evidence towards your apprenticeship.

Register your interest in apprenticeships at To find out more about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship, go to the government’s dedicated apprenticeships website.