Pub operators would normally be expected to discourage under 18-year-olds from entering their premises, but high street chain JD Wetherspoon has broken with convention by vowing to create 1,000 new jobs for 16- and 17-year-olds in the next 12 months.
The jobs are aimed at school-leavers who are entering the job market for the first time. They will be offered positions working front-of-house serving customers, as well as in pub kitchens, but will not be in any contact with alcohol.
The new employees will be offered the opportunity to study for NVQ qualifications, with the option of completing a professional diploma and honours degree if they progress to a management position.
Mandy Ferries, head of personnel and training at Wetherspoon, said: “We believe that many school-leavers will welcome the opportunity to work for Wetherspoon. We can offer them the chance to study as part of their work as well as progress within the company.”
Last year, Personnel Today revealed that more than 40% of the 10,000 new recruits Wetherspoon plans to recruit over the next five years will come from the long-term unemployed.
In other hospitality industry news, budget hotel group Travelodge has opened a skills academy at its Coventry hotel in conjunction with the National Skills Academy for Hospitality.
The academy will host a customer service course each week and will be available for companies to hire for their own use.
David McHattie, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, said Travelodge’s new academy is a great example of a big business supporting the industry and smaller businesses.
“This innovative training centre allows us to make the inspirational training solutions we identify more accessible and at the best value,” he said. “In challenging economic times both companies and individuals need to stand out from the crowd and the generosity of Travelodge means that more people will have access to the best development.”