Spar wholesalers CJ Lang & Son and Capper & Co have won licensed retail industry awards for their alcohol sales training programmes.

CJ Lang won the award for Best Development Programme at the BII National Training Awards, while Capper carried off a Social Responsibility gong for its Alcohol Awareness Management Toolkit.

Lang's programme, which involves individual and team training plans, begins at induction and is continuous throughout employment, with refresher training given four times a year. Potential managers are placed on the nine-month Going For Gold management programme.

Group HR controller John Connolly said: "Through the programme staff come to realise the importance of the social aspects of selling alcohol. They understand the implications not only to the business, but the community."

Capper has worked with South Wales Police and Trading Standards to develop best practice and procedures and a better working partnership.

Capper training manager Rick Wheeler said: "We have been working with interested parties to address the public perception that c-stores are part of the problem when it comes to age-related sales, rather than part of the solution.

"The results have demonstrated some staggering improvements. During 2007-08, refusals rose by 9,369 to 40,369, confrontational incidents reduced by 26% and incidents of a violent nature reduced by 49%."

The chain also carries out its own test purchases, with an 87% pass rate.