The company will invest £5.7m in apprenticeship programmes over next five years, taking on 1,200 apprentices every year across its Premier Inn, Costa and restaurant brands.
Apprenticeships have become key in tackling recruitment issues in hospitality, with Whitbread citing that staff are 45 per cent more likely to stay with the company if they have undertaken an apprenticeship than those who have not.
Currently, 34 per cent of Whitbread’s apprentices gain a promotion within 15 months, with 95 per cent moving on to managerial positions within the same time frame.
“I firmly believe that investing in apprenticeships is essential to Whitbread’s future success and to the health of the UK economy, as well as helping the next generation to achieve their full potential,” said Andy Harrison, Whitbread CEO.
Prime Minister David Cameron said of the scheme: “It’s a huge leap forward to have Whitbread, one of Britain’s leading employers in the hospitality industry, hiring even more apprentices.
“We want apprenticeships to be level-pegging with a University degree giving millions more people the dignity of work and a regular pay packet.”
Sandra Kelly, head of education at Whitbread, told BigHospitality earlier this year that the company is attempting to change the negative perception of working in hospitality through outreach to local schools and Jobcentres.