1,000 more jobs and a new apprenticeship scheme for Whitbread

Hotel and restaurant chain Whitbread will create 1,000 new jobs in 2009 as well as launching a new apprenticeship scheme.

The group plans to open aboutd 12 new hotels, four restaurants and over 100 Costa Coffee shops.

The apprenticeship programme will be available to all employees across its UK hotel and restaurant operations. The company said its approach to apprentices was integrated into core business training and development programmes and can be achieved in half the time of a normal NVQ.

Alan Parker, chief executive of Whitbread, said, “The Whitbread Model is at the heart of our commitment to attract and train up the very best potential hospitality talent.

We need to keep demonstrating that working in the hospitality industry is a great career move, not just a job. By halving the time that it takes to achieve qualifications and combining the NVQ work with our induction programme, we anticipate that 20% of our workforce will have a nationally recognised qualification by 2010.”

By the end of 2009 more than 3,000 employees are expected to have achieved qualifications such as NVQ’s and certificates in adult numeracy and literacy, the firm said. Employees can study for NVQ’s in house keeping, food processing and cooking, food and drink service and front office.

In December last year Whitbread said that after just five weeks of its pilot programme 16 Whitbread employees had already gained National Skills for Life qualifications, using a computer-based system from technology firm ThirdForce.

The firm also signed a five-year HR and payroll outsourcing deal with HR services provider Ceridian, delivering HR services to more than 33,000 employees across the firm’s operations,

Meanwhile, building firm Laing O’Rourke said it would create at least 1,000 apprenticeships this year in spite of the economic downturn.

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