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SABMiller and BII to Provide Professional Qualifications for Employees Working in Licensed Premises (England and Wales)

27 July 2009

SABMiller plc has joined forces with BIIAB, the awarding body of BII, the professional body for the licensed retail industry, to offer lifetime qualifications in responsible alcohol retailing to employees at small and medium-sized licensed trade enterprises in the UK. The ‘SABMiller Scholars Programme', launched today, will allow these employees to study for and sit the examination for the BIIAB Level 2 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing (ARAR), accredited by Ofqual, the new regulator of qualifications, exams and tests in England.

SABMiller will sponsor 500 candidates in England and Wales as part of the initiative. This is a unique opportunity for licensees to get their staff trained and qualified in order to give them an understanding of licensing law. It will help to lessen the risk of underage sales in licensed premises and, in doing so, help protect the licences and livelihoods of licensees. Unlike other training programmes, the scholarships provide a government-approved professional qualification that stays with the candidates throughout their careers.

Commander Simon O'Brien, Association of Chief Police Officers Lead on Alcohol Licensing, said:

"It is good to see SABMiller and BIIAB combining forces to push up standards in the industry. As BII is a professional body with experience and credibility in industry accreditation, this scheme has the Association of Chief Police Officers' support. We would like such thinking to expand so the industry is fully seen as driving attitudes, behaviour and responsible trading towards a real culture change that challenges binge drinking and irresponsible trading by a small minority."

Kristin Wolfe, Head of Alcohol Policy at SABMiller, commented:

"While most large companies offer staff training for those selling alcohol, many smaller shops and pubs simply can't afford this sort of scheme. SABMiller's Scholars Programme will give small and medium-sized enterprises a helping hand towards the achievement of a national qualification for their staff, encouraging a training culture in those businesses and having an important impact on the life of their communities."

"While organisations such as BII positively contribute to better communities, ultimately it is up to each and every drinker to take their responsibility to society and themselves seriously. That said, every contribution to reduce irresponsible drinking is an important one for society."

Cathie Smith, Director of BIIAB, added:

"We are thrilled to partner with SABMiller in this initiative. Achievement of the nationally-accredited ARAR qualification will give staff the confidence to deal with challenges in relation to underage sales or drunk customers, for example, and will contribute significantly to raising standards of professionalism within the industry by qualifying those on the front line."

Tenants, lessees, freeholders and independent store owners interested in accessing the funds to get their staff qualified for free should contact the QA Department at BIIAB on 01276 684449. Staff working in managed houses or stores will not be eligible to apply.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

About the qualification

The scholars will be sponsored to access the training plus qualifications charges (including handbook, registration, certification and delivery) for the BIIAB Level 1 Award in Responsible Alcohol Retailing (ARAR), which is accredited by Ofqual.

A similar scheme has been launched in Scotland to provide free training for the BIIAB Scottish Certificate for Licensed Premises Staff (SCLPS), which meets industry and regulatory requirements under the new Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

About SABMiller plc

SABMiller is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group`s wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as market-leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie. SABMiller is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2009, the group reported US$3,405 million in adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$25,302 million. SABMiller is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

Further information on our policies is available on http://www.sabmiller.com/ and infomration on responsibale drinking is available on http://www.talkingalcohol.com/

About BII

BII is a registered charity and the professional body for the licensed retail sector and has around 15,000 members, and 54 corporate patrons, members and supporters. BII's mission is to promote high standards of professionalism throughout the licensed retail sector; to encourage new entrants into the industry, and to help them develop their long-term careers.

BII has achieved the ISO9001:2000 quality standard, Investors in People and was listed in the ‘one to watch' category of the Sunday Times ‘Best Companies to Work For' survey in 2008.

Wholly-owned by BII, BIIAB is the leading awarding body for the licensed retail sector. BIIAB is accredited by Ofqual and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Over 1.5 million BIIAB qualifications have been processed so far.

Contacts:

  • Michelle Luscombe, BII Corporate Communications Manager

01276 417863 or michellel@bii.org

  • Elaine McCrimmon, Alcohol Policy Manager, SABMiller

01483 264000

  • Catherine Hicks / Fiona Mulcahy, Brunswick for SABMiller

020 7404 5959 

High resolution images are available for the media to view and download free of charge from www.sabmiller.com

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