Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia has launched a “leadership academia programme” with the aim of filling 70% of its restaurant managerial positions internally. The scheme will enable a clear career path from team member to general manager. The programme is divided into three tiered stages – Stepping Up, for staff looking to become managers and chefs to sous chefs; Emerging Leaders for sous chefs and supervisors looking to step up to head chef and assistant manager; and Future Leaders for assistant managers and head chefs looking to become general managers. Each stage has bespoke learning modules with participants required to attend external workshops away from the restaurant, with the onus on individuals driving their own learning. Bella Italia HR director Wayne Morgan said: “Attracting and retaining quality people in an ever-shrinking pool of talent is a challenge all operators currently face. We want to promote a career in hospitality and show it’s possible to work your way up from floor to management.” Bella Italia already has more than 170 employees training in the programme.