Wetherspoons will recruit from long-term unemployed

More than two fifths of Wetherspoon’s 10,000 new recruits will come from the long-term unemployed, Personnel Today has learned.

The pub chain is also piloting a level 2 apprenticeship programme which will be launched nationwide next year, its training chief has revealed.

The company said this morning it would open 250 new sites by 2015 and hire 10,000 new managerial and frontline staff, after announcing pre-tax profits of 13.6% in the year to July.

Mandy Ferries, head of personnel and training at JD Wetherspoon, told Personnel Today that all the jobs would be advertised through Jobcentre Plus, using Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs) to help get the long-term jobless back to work.

“I would hope we can fill upwards of 40% of vacancies from using LEPs. We have a really good partnership with local Jobcentres and that has worked fantastically well for us.”

About 100 staff members are currently enrolled on the trial apprenticeship programme, she said, adding that the scheme would help to entice the best people for the chain’s expansion.

“The apprenticeship scheme is a big attraction for new recruits as they can get a qualification while they work, and that’s a great opportunity for people who left school without the qualifications they wanted.”

Ferries attributed the recent success of the business – which has enabled the company to embark on the £250m expansion plan – to its focus on staff attitude and training.

She said: “It’s about making people not necessarily feel like they are in a Wetherspoon pub but in a local pub. The people in our pubs are what our customers come back for time and time again. We encourage our staff to get to know our customers.”

She said an internal scheme where recruits are asked to befriend 100 customers in their first three months and learn what they drink, their first name and an interesting fact about them, has helped to create a community feel in pubs where staff feel comfortable to work.

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