McDonald's is to offer a national qualification in the principles of customer service, which can count towards a hospitality apprenticeship, to all unemployed "Games Maker" volunteers at the London 2012 Olympics.
The fast-food chain said it expected around 1,000 people to take up the offer, which also applies to those who have taken part in the Government's Personal Best Programme. Around 70,000 Games Makers are taking part during the Olympics and Paralympics.
The online course, a City & Guilds Level 2 Award in the Principles of Customer Service, forms part of the McDonald's apprenticeship programme.
The qualification is transferable and counts towards just under 10% of an apprenticeship in hospitality in the future. McDonald's also indicated that it would offer a job interview to all the people who completed it.
Jez Langhorn, vice-president, people, at McDonald's UK, said: "This summer all eyes will be on Britain as we host the world's greatest sporting event. It has always been our ambition to use our role as Presenting Partner for the Games Maker programme to deliver a lasting legacy that will create opportunities for the volunteers themselves, and will raise hospitality standards in our own business and across the service sector as a whole.
"We've always believed in helping people fulfil their potential no matter what their background. It's an approach that serves us well in our own business and it's why the customer service qualification will be going to those people who we think can benefit from it the most, helping to boost their confidence and giving them skills that will help them to get a step on the career ladder."
Sharon Glancy, director, training division, People 1st, commented: "It's crucial that we take advantage of the opportunities that come with hosting the Olympic Games, to drive forward improvements in customer service standards across the hospitality and service sector. This online programme, which will be available to the wider industry after the games, can play an important role in addressing some of the persistent negative perceptions of British customer service skills."
And Skills Minister John Hayes MP said: "This qualification builds on the Personal Best pre-employment programme that has targeted some of the most disadvantaged people in our community and given them the chance to volunteer at the London 2012 Games. It is my hope that the Games Maker qualification being offered to Personal Best graduates and other unemployed people will help to improve their skills and build their confidence, enabling them to participate more fully in work, and the life of their communities. Excitement and anticipation around the Olympic Games is building, and with the help of companies like McDonald's, and the enthusiasm of the nation, we really can make London 2012 the best Olympic Games to date and achieve a lasting skills legacy."
By Neil Gerrard
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