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McDonald's Puts Apprenticeships on the Menu

McDonald'sApprenticeships will be made available to all employees at McDonald's, it was announced today (8th January).

In 2009 the restaurant chain aims to provide Apprenticeships to up to 6,000 of its 72,000 UK workforce and then up to 10,000 per year from 2010, providing staff with the opportunity to gain a valuable, nationally recognised qualification that is equivalent to five GCSEs grade A*-C. The move will make McDonald's the UK's largest Apprenticeship provider.

David Fairhurst, Senior VP, Chief People Officer, McDonald's UK, said: “In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever for employers to invest in their staff.

"With the service and hospitality sector now one of the biggest employers in the UK economy – over 1.9 million people are employed by the hospitality and tourism sector alone - it's vital that we and others in the industry invest in skills and training now to ensure the sector is ready to shine when the UK emerges from the downturn.”

Following the completion of a successful 80 restaurant trial, McDonald's will now offer employees across its 1,200 UK restaurants the opportunity to gain a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Multi-Skilled Hospitality. The qualification recognises job-specific skills acquired through workplace training, combined with GCSE-equivalent Maths and English. McDonald's will be subject to Ofsted inspections, like any other educational establishment.

McDonald's will be required to meet the same standards and criteria as any other provider, such as schools and FE colleges, and its Apprenticeships will be accredited by leading awarding body City & Guilds.

David Fairhurst commented: “We're proud to take this significant step forward in offering our employees the opportunity to gain another nationally-recognised qualification. The success of our Apprenticeship trial, and the national rollout we're announcing today, show that classroom learning is no longer the only route to new skills and valuable qualifications.

“Apprenticeships will help give our employees the confidence and competence to do their jobs to the best of their ability, thus delivering an even better service to our customers. In the last three years we have seen a ten per cent uplift in the confidence of our people and offering nationally recognised qualifications has played a key part in this.

“And it is not just our people and our business that will benefit. Apprenticeships are also good news for the wider economy. They enable those who use a job at McDonald's as a stepping stone to another career, to move on to their next job with a valuable, transferable qualification that helps them hit the ground running.

“We have put rigorous standards in place to ensure our Apprenticeships deliver real value to our employees and their managers who will invest a great deal of time and effort in completing their qualifications. We're excited to be in a position to offer Apprenticeships to so many of our people, providing a valuable new opportunity that will help them go further at McDonald's and in life.”

McDonald's wholeheartedly supports the recent call to action from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills for employers to continue investing in staff training in the economic downturn, and last summer created 4,000 new jobs.

Chris Jones, Director General, City & Guilds, said: “McDonald's is a great example of an employer that is committed to lifelong learning and developing its staff. I've seen first hand that its employees are really engaged and getting value from their training. Best of all, they'll not only gain a national qualification, but also learn as they earn.

“Apprenticeships change people's lives. They provide a qualification that's recognised not just nationally, but internationally too. Apprenticeships are important for UK plc – they grow skills, and enable the UK to be more competitive in a global economy.”

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, the sector skills council for the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector commented: "Enlightened employers like McDonald's are helping to push the skills agenda through innovative programmes that engage and motivate their employees.

"We fully endorse the McDonald's apprenticeship strategy which offers a nationally recognized qualification that will be valued by other employers in the industry, and offers their staff a significant investment in their career development."

This announcement adds another rung to the learning ladder that McDonald's UK employees can ascend, providing opportunities for all to learn and progress. Qualifications open to McDonald's employees now include:

  • Access to nationally-recognised GCSE-equivalent qualifications in Maths and English
  • Access to Apprenticeships, a vocational qualification gained in the workplace that is worth five good GCSEs
  • Access to an A-level equivalent Basic Shift Management qualification
  • McDonald's also offers management development programmes that enable employees to keep progressing beyond this.