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Case Study: Merivale

How Merivale invests in mentoring and developing future hospitality leaders



Sydney’s premier hospitality group, Merivale, was looking to re-develop its existing training initiatives – the Bronze and Silver Development Programs – to make further education and training more desirable for staff through the provision of a nationally recognised qualification.

Through the newly accredited programs, Merivale wanted to provide staff with an opportunity to enhance their leadership and management skills and progress in their careers by advancing into more senior roles within the organisation.

Key challenges:

  • The programs needed to align existing training with a nationally recognised certificate
  • The programs needed to be customised for Merivale’s unique portfolio of venues and directly applicable to the workplace
  • Merivale wanted to achieve a more efficient recruitment process by seeking talent internally
  • Merivale wanted to alter staff perceptions of hospitality from a ‘stepping stone’ in their careers to a viable, long-term career path


Through extensive consultation with Merivale, Allara Learning developed a customised training program that would align the existing Bronze and Silver Development Programs with a nationally recognised qualification.

Upon successful completion of the Bronze Development Program, participants are awarded a Certificate IV in Business (BSB40215). They are then presented with the opportunity to further their studies with a Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB51918) through the Silver Development Program.

Each of the programs are co-delivered by professional trainers from Allara Learning and subject matter experts from Merivale’s different departments. Participants also receive support and guidance from some of the hospitality industry’s leading talent including Justin Hemmes (CEO), Franck Moreau (Group Sommelier), Kathy Savill (Chief Sales Officer), Frank Roberts (Food & Beverage Director) and Antony Jones (Chief Commercial Officer).

Training with a professional Allara Learning facilitator ensures that the skills and knowledge developed through the programs meet industry standards and are transferable into other businesses and service industries.

Input from Merivale’s subject matter experts enables participants to gain valuable insights from a relatable source and develop a greater understanding of the performance standards required by the organisation and its portfolio of iconic hospitality venues.

Training also involves a mentor program wherein each participant selects a senior Merivale leader to inspire and support them throughout their training.

Skills are developed through a combination of classroom-based and practical training. A series of workshops are delivered over twelve to sixteen weeks with participants engaging in workshop activities, case studies, role plays and workplace projects.

Each program concludes with participants delivering a presentation to Merivale’s senior management and their Allara Learning training facilitator.

“Merivale and Allara’s partnership has evolved and developed substantially over the last 6 years… Allara have been an excellent support to assist each project’s successful launch. ...This is a partnership unique in our offering, educating the hospitality industry with nationally recognised Certificates and Diplomas. Neither Merivale or Allara will stop here. We have a strategy and plan for the future which… could potentially alleviate critical issues and skill gaps in our industry, not just in our company.”

Kate Tones , Group People Experience Manager, Merivale


  • The Bronze Development Program achieved a 97% completion rate
  • The Silver Development Program achieved a 100% completion rate
  • 26 out of 36 participants in the Bronze Development Program received a promotion within 6 months of completing the course
  • 10 out of 15 participants in the Silver Development Program received a promotion within 6 months of completing the course
  • Immediate results have been prevalent in staff motivation, staff development, knowledge, efficiency and confidence
  • Merivale now seeks talent internally prior to external recruitment and has experienced a notable reduction in recruitment costs and a boost in bottom line revenue
  • Silver Development Program graduate Julie Davaine won the the 2019 Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship
  • The programs were finalists in the 2017 Australian HR Awards for ‘Best Learning and Development Program’

“The Silver Development Program gave me the confidence to make informed decisions which has positively impacted the business and my personal development. More importantly, it was a fantastic platform to build relationships with like-minded industry professionals – many of whom still play a big part in the decisions I make for my business today. ”

Ben Rashleigh , Manager & Licensee, Merivale


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Merivale is one of Australia’s most iconic hospitality groups.

Owned and run by the Hemmes family for over 60 years, Merivale has an ever-expanding portfolio of over 70 brands and venues includes est., Mr. Wong’s, The Newport, Coogee Pavilion, ivy and Establishment.