Potential licensees in the West Midlands who fancy trying their hand in the troubled leisure sector but only speak English as a second language will be given a helping hand.

The ABV Training centre is offering exams for future landlords and restaurateurs in five languages – Chinese, Bengali, Turkish, Welsh and Polish.

David Hawbrook, managing director of the hospitality training specialists, said: “We’ve got to accept we are living in a multicultural society. Where would we be without Chinese restaurants and Indian diners? Not everyone can read and write fluent English, and offering these exams in their native language means licensees will fully understand the law. It’s very important they know their legal obligations, and we believe it a positive development.”

Anyone wanting to sell alcohol must apply for a NCPLH certificate, gained from a one-day training course and exam. Although all those studying for the qualification will be fluent in English, they are now being offered the chance to sit the exam in their own language.

Mr Hawbrook’s company runs monthly training courses at the Quality Hotel on Hagley Road, and nationally. He believes the new exams, instigated by the professional body for the licenced trade, will encourage more people to consider joining the hospitality industry.

“There are lots of people across the region that may wish to serve alcohol within their business but are put off gaining the necessary qualification because English is not their first language, and for whom reading English is especially difficult,” he said. “The addition of the multi-lingual exam papers will hopefully encourage those people to step forward for training.”

Richard Matthews, regional secretary of the Midlands branch of the Beer and Pub Association, gave the new exam papers his backing and said he hoped they would help the struggling industry. “It’s definitely a difficult time for the trade,” he said. “Five pubs a day are closing nationally. But there is still hope for the right licensee, and the chance to do well regardless of where you come from. People may bring skills from their own countries, and that may help the industry.

"Although the pub trade is a traditional one, it is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and I think anything that makes our industry more accessible is a good idea.”

Fran Oborski, of the honorary Polish council for the West Midlands, agrees. “Anything that helps keep the licenced trade in the area going is a good thing,” she said.