Longbow’s Leah Bancroft Crowned Apprentice of the Year at East Midlands Business Awards


Here at Longbow Bars and Restaurants, we made a vow to always put people over profits. We love our team and the character, expertise and fun they bring to our venues.

We are no strangers to entering awards (and winning a few too… which is nice). Spending time putting award entries together, in secret, that recognise individual team members is one of my favourite things to do. They have no idea what goes on behind the scenes as we hold clandestine chats, speak in code and build a full picture for judges to agree with us that they're worthy winners. 

The wait to see if they have been shortlisted is agonising. I haven't got kids of my own, but I think this might be the closest feeling to parental pride. You know those dance mums that go a bit nuts when their Little Miss Lycra gets a trophy for ballet, or the footy dads who lose it when their Mini Midfielder scores a hat trick? Yeah, that was me on Friday night at the East Midlands Business Awards when The Maynard's Leah Bancroft won Apprentice of the Year.

Our reaction when Leah was announced!

At this point, I should say that we were finalists in the following categories too;

  • Commitment to People
  • Entrepreneur of the Year – Rob Hattersley (Me)
  • Excellence in Customer Service

And while it would've been blummin lovely to get trophies for those too, the only one causing my heart rate to skyrocket past 130bpm was the Apprentice award.

When we saw the categories at the time of entry, we knew instantly that Leah was deserving of the Apprentice award. We liaised with the manager of The Maynard and Leah's manager, Charlotte Barker, who had this to say;

‘I must say “I cannot believe she is only 17” multiple times a week. [Leah was 17 at the time of entry] Leah loves taking an authoritative approach and knows her job role inside out, wherever she is placed in the business. She is confident in delegating to other team members who are often older than her and she is not shy in making sure the job is done and it is done right. As her manager, I can delegate tasks to her knowing that they will be done.’

'Leah is often mentioned by name in reviews on Google and Tripadvisor. She leaves a lasting impression on diners, wedding guests and hotel guests who can’t help but mention her. She puts people at ease, making no request too difficult. She goes out of her way to deliver impeccable customer service and is thoughtful in her approach.'

'Mental health in hospitality is important. Off her own back, Leah takes on a caring role with team members and identifies those needing additional support. She is a valued member of the team who helps us manage and lead with compassion. This benefits the whole workforce.'

'Her influence on the job cannot be ignored. Having Leah with you on your shift makes you pull your socks up! She is thorough and leaves no stone unturned. If you work with Leah on shift and you don’t work like Leah, you’re left in the dark. Her work ethic and enthusiasm is contagious and raises the bar of the whole team working around her.'

'Leah deserves this award in bucket loads. Young people get stick these days for being lazy, stuck to their phones and being entitled. We don’t really experience that with our young people as we strive to forge a culture that is caring, compassionate and provides certainty within their roles so that there’s no need for stress and anxiety to get the job done. Leah is already a significant contributor to the business in her capabilities, knowledge and ability to be autonomous and lead others. She will make an exceptional manager one day and her passion for learning will ensure we continue to provide excellent training as we train the next generation of hospitality staff.'

If you see Leah next time you're in The Maynard, join us in saying well done.

We are so proud of her!


If you're looking for;

  • a rewarding, exciting and lucrative career in hospitality
  • a chance to enjoy real career progression within a rapid growing independent business
  • a role in a business that puts people over profits
  • an opportunity to be recognised for your talents and skills

Then consider us at Longbow for your next career move.

We are opening The Ashford Arms in early 2024 and all levels of front-of-house, kitchen and housekeeping roles are required.

For more information, contact our talent and succession manager, Jack Arksey jack@longbowvenues.com 


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