Mitchells & Butlers have recently toasted the success of their first ever cohort of graduates from their 'Managing in Service Industries' higher education foundation degree.

Developed in partnership with University College Birmingham, the three-year course is offered exclusively to Mitchells & Butlers General Managers, and is an online degree featuring a range of interactive learning. It is designed to enhance managers' performance, boost their operational skills and develop the knowledge required to become a successful manager in the hospitality sector.

Celebrating with the first group of graduates at a ceremony held at Birmingham's Symphony Hall, new graduate, Lisa Crunkhorn, General Manager at The Cowper Arms, Premium Country Pub commented: "It's so fantastic to have finally graduated, it was tough along the way, with late nights and a few tears until I learnt how to balance things, but I have really enjoyed studying the theory behind the things we do, researching current industry trends and enhancing my knowledge.

"For anyone thinking of doing this course with Mitchells & Butlers, do it, make the time. Graduation day is fantastic, and I'm so proud of myself - to share it with my colleagues that have become friends as well is even better."

Another successful Graduate,James Doughty, GM at the Old White Horse, Stourbridge said: "It was always a regret of mine not going to University after leaving school where I could earn a degree, so having the chance of earning one I was always interested in it. M&B have given me this opportunity to work towards that and after three years of hard work I've finally achieved that goal."

As a company we are committed to developing and nurturing the best talent and it is our mission to employ and develop 1,700 apprenticeships across the company in the next year.

Jan Smallbone, Director of Learning & Talent Development, comments: "As we continue to urge young learners to consider a career in hospitality, providing our current GM's with training and development opportunities that will mean they can inspire the future leaders of our business is a huge benefit.

"We want to give young people a genuine alternative to academic study, not everyone wants to go to university, therefore we want to continue to showcase working for us offers an excellent career pathway."

Four out of the five graduates that are celebrating, are already planning to spend a further two years' study, commencing in January 2017, topping up their Foundation Degree to a BA (hons) Degree.