The initiative, organised by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), kicks off today (3 March) and is now in its seventh seventh year. Hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars across the country are helping to make this year's event the biggest yet.
Budget hotel chain Travelodge has marked the launch of National Apprenticeship Week with the announcement that it is hiring 80 new apprentices to join its successful ‘JuMP’ apprenticeship programme later this year.
The two-year Junior Management Programme, which launched in 2011, offers A Level students a fast-track route into hotel management. School leavers can continue their education, gain work experience, receive a salary and become a hotel manager by the age of 21.
Travelodge’s chief operating officer Jon Hendry Pickup said: “Building careers is part of our DNA at Travelodge and we're delighted by the way our JuMP programme is helping us to identify and develop future leaders.”
The first class of Travelodge apprentices graduated last November and are now managing Travelodge hotels across the UK. There are currently 55 apprentices undergoing training and the next wave of apprentices will be graduating in October this year. In addition to the 80 apprentice positions, Travelodge is also looking to hire 1,000 new staff members across the country in 2014.
Meanwhile, fast-food giant McDonald’s is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with the revelations that more than half of its first level of management have come up through its apprenticeship programme which launched five years ago.
Over 16,000 McDonald’s apprentices have gained a qualification through the scheme since it was launched in 2009. A further 4,800 employees are currently studying towards an apprenticeship and more than half are aged between 16 and 18.
McDonald’s UK chief people officer Jez Langhorn said: “Getting a first taste of work has never been more important for young people. At McDonald’s, our apprenticeship programme offers our people the chance to develop their skills, gain experience and grow in confidence.
"This not only helps them to perform better in the workplace, but also gives them a broader foundation of transferable skills on which to build their careers, whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.
“Reflecting on the five years we’ve since we launched the apprenticeship programme, it’s fantastic to see how many of our apprentices have climbed the job ladder with us.”
And on the pubs front, nationwide operator Orchid is celebrating the fact that a record number of staff have already signed up for its 2014 apprenticeship programme.
A total of 254 employees have enrolled on an Orchid Apprenticeship - 184 on front-of-house schemes and 70 as chefs.
“We are delighted that more people than ever before are recognising the value of our apprenticeship schemes,” said Tracy Read, head of people at Orchid Group. “Our training team have worked incredibly hard on developing and continually updating our programmes to ensure they offer unrivalled learning and experience opportunities, so to see so many staff getting on board is fantastic.
“This National Apprenticeship Week, we really want to shout about our success stories and our talented people.”
Video: Nick Clegg's backing
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has long backed apprenticeships, has welcomed the increased support from businesses towards National Apprenticeship Week.
To mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week, London Mayor Boris Johnson is joining forces with the British Hospitality Association to announce the creation of thousands of new apprenticeships in the capital.
The Mayor is committed to creating 250,000 new apprenticeship positions in London by 2016.He will meet two apprentices working at Premier Inn, helping them serve breakfast to some of the many customers at a bustling West End hotel.
So… What’s your business doing? Has your hotel, restaurant or pub taken on extra apprentices this year? Are you running any special initiatives this week? Or perhaps you have some general thoughts about apprenticeships that you’d like to discuss.