Urban Purveyor Group Launches Staff Scholarship to Foster Talent

August 4, 2015
By Alana House

Following a recent trend, Urban Purveyor Group has announced an ongoing scholarship for continued training with support from wine distribution company Samuel Smith & Son.

The hospitality giant, which comprises 20 restaurants and bars across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, launched the scholarship in honour of its late board member Mike Spithill, who provided education and training expertise to the Group and its key wine partners Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants Australia.

Though training initiatives are nothing new, recently more and more hospitality groups have partnered with brands directly in order to deliver educational experiences or once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities to staff members outside of a wider competition circuit.

Urban Purveyor Group’s inaugural Mike Spithill Wine Leadership Scholarship was presented to Rebecca O’Shea, assistant manager of The Cut Bar & Grill, who will undertake an all-expenses paid, ten-day tour of Europe to visit some of the world’s most celebrated wine producers, including Torres, E. Guigal, Pol Roger, Allegrini, Prunotto, Gaja and Antinori.

Group Chief Executive Officer Thomas Pash said the scholarship was a fitting way to celebrate the life of a gentleman who spent his career mentoring others.

“Mike sat on the board of Urban Purveyor Group for over 10 years, he mentored members of our senior leadership team, and was an infinite source of knowledge on the restaurant and wine industries.

“Mike’s educational endeavours will live on through the Wine Leadership Scholarship which will be open to Urban Purveyor Group employees who are interested in furthering their knowledge and passion for wines from around the world,” Pash continued.

An extremely high standard of entries were received for the award, which will be offered every second year.

“I applaud Rebecca’s hard work and enthusiasm. The scholarship is a way to invest in the future leaders of Urban Purveyor Group and I encourage all team members to challenge themselves through our ongoing professional development opportunities.”

Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants Australia have facilitated access for O’Shea to a number of its partner wineries in Spain (Barcelona), France (Lyon, Paris) and Italy (Verona, Tuscany, Florence).

The brand will also provide vintage experience for Ms O’Shea at a Samuel Smith & Son vineyard and winery in Australia and will support her endeavours to join its prestigious Working with Wine program.


Ms O’Shea said: “I am honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Mike Spithill Wine Leadership Scholarship.”


“This is a trip of a lifetime. I can’t wait to submerge myself in European wine culture and to gain hands-on vintage experience, all of which will benefit my role at Urban Purveyor Group.”


O’Shea has achieved Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 award and is looking forward to embarking on Level 3.
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