Whitbread PLC Invests in Training Talent

Apprenticeship training programme first in hospitality industry to award a fully embedded employer led programme

November 10, 2008 // Franchising.com // Whitbread PLC, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group, has announced today that it is launching a new bespoke training and development programme. Named 'The Whitbread Apprenticeship Programme' it is the first and largest employer-led programme of its kind in the hospitality industry.

Whitbread PLC's continued success and expansion plans means that they will have created over 4,000 new jobs this financial year and look set to continue this trend. The apprenticeship programme is at the heart of plans to attract, retain and reward top talent.

CEO Alan Parker, who reconfirmed Whitbread's commitment to the Government Skills Pledge, spearheads the programme. It is Whitbread's ambition to take the NVQ programme out nationally and to train over 3000 employees by the end of 2009. Employees are able to gain an NVQ in House keeping, Food processing and cooking, Food and Drink service, Front office and Customer service.

Developed in conjunction with the awarding body Edexcel, The Whitbread Apprenticeship will assess team members and select them for career development and training. People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for Hospitality, have been integral in supporting the change to the assessment requirements, ensuring that the scheme delivers quality assurance throughout the programme.

This innovative apprenticeship is already being called the 'Whitbread Model', and is backed by key educational bodies as a breakthrough in matching vocational qualifications to employer-led training and development.

Alan Parker, Chief Executive Officer for Whitbread Group PLC, commented: "The initiative demonstrates Whitbread's tireless commitment to the personal development of our teams. By halving the time that it takes and combining the NVQ work with our industry leading induction programme, we anticipate that 20% of our workforce will have a nationally recognised qualification by 2010."

Marian Graveson, Apprenticeship Programme Manager for Whitbread, commented: "Our aim was to combine all aspects of our training into an Apprenticeship, creating a fully contextualized training solution for our businesses delivered in half the time of the standard length of programme."

Whitbread has been working closely with Edexcel, the UK's largest awarding body, and People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for Hospitality, to develop the programme. Whitbread also has full backing from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the government regulator.

Whitbread will also be looking at further personal development programmes and career progression plans in the future for all levels of the business. Whitbread was one of the first Hospitality companies to sign up to the Governments Skills pledge; these programmes demonstrate its commitment to maximising the talent within its business.

Notes to Editors

The 'Whitbread Model' The programme comprises three sections - a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 including the technical certification, key skills qualifications in application of number and communication and an Employment Responsibility Rights (ERR) project. The programme will take half the time to complete than a standard Apprenticeship with most team members now taking 6 months instead of 12, as the work required to complete the course is included in Whitbread's standard induction programme. Successful completion will mean that team members will receive four certificates - an NVQ Level 2, two Key Skills certificates, an ERR and an Apprenticeship. All certificates are nationally recognised.

Whitbread PLC

Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant company operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its brands include Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 8.5 million customers every month in its 1500 outlets across the UK.

In the first half of the financial year ending 28th August 2008, Whitbread PLC reported a 12.6% increase in Group Revenue to £682.2 million and 24% increase in Pre-tax Profit to £123.3 million.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index. In October 2008, Whitbread's market capitalization was circa £1.4 billion.

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