Compass Group, Barceló Hotels and Hilton Worldwide were among the first hospitality businesses to be named as signatories to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's Business Compact scheme.
Jurys Inn Hotels, McDonald's, and Starbucks, as well as Mitie and Nestlé, have also committed to opening their doors to young people from all walks of life in a bid to end the "who you know, not what you know" culture.
More than 100 of Britain's biggest companies and professional groups have signed the Business Compact, which forms a key part of the deputy prime minister's Social Mobility Strategy, launched in April last year.
Ian Sarson, group managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland, said that people were at the very heart of his business and that Compass was dedicated to providing opportunities and training to people from all walks of life.
"Last year over 1,600 people achieved an apprenticeship within Compass and we have a range of development programmes matched to nationally recognised qualifications which enable people to grow and evolve within our business, providing them with real opportunities and a career for life," he added.
The caterer also works with schools and colleges to run a Junior Chefs' Academy, introducing young people to the opportunities that a career in catering presents.
Hilton Worldwide is actively involved in the Government's Get Britain Working Campaign, and has established a Chef Apprenticeship Academy. Through its "Galvin's Chance" programme Hilton also offers underprivileged young people the opportunity to develop a career in one of Hilton Worldwide's London-based hotels.
Each of the 100-plus Hilton Worldwide hotels in the UK are encouraged to develop links with local schools and colleges and Hilton Worldwide offers work placements to students in partnership with Springboard UK.
Ben Bengougam, vice-president, HR, Europe, Hilton Worldwide, said that a lack of social mobility meant wasted talent, adding: "It is vital, therefore, that the professions act a force for good in widening access to individuals with talent and potential, regardless of their background."
The Business Compact sets out the Government's determination to ensure every individual is free to achieve, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. Businesses which sign up to it must agree to:
â- Open opportunities to all young people by advertising their work-experience places through schools, online and in other public forums
â- Make access to internships open and transparent, paying interns the National Minimum Wage where they are legally entitled to it and providing financial support to ensure fair access, such as providing expenses and/or accommodation to those from less-advantaged backgrounds to ensure they are not prevented from accessing opportunities by their financial circumstances.
â- Recruit fairly and without discrimination, ensuring that their recruitment processes don't allow candidates to be inadvertently screened out because they went to the wrong school or come from a different ethnic group (including through using name-blank and school-blank applications where appropriate).
Speaking about this new scheme yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, said: "This is an important step towards a society where it's what you know, not who you know, that counts. Working with the coalition, the biggest hitters in Britain's business world are helping lead the way to a fairer, more open society."
By Janie Stamford
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