Hospitality employers have made up a significant number of the 20,000 new apprenticeship jobs that have been pledged as part of National Apprenticeship Week, new figures show.
Figures from communications company Munro & Forster show that businesses such as Greene King (2,000 apprenticeships pledged), Whitbread (2,000), Mitchells & Butlers (1,000) and Starbucks (1,000) are some of the biggest names to have added to the total.
The research also found that almost half (47%) of employers pledging apprenticeship jobs were small to medium businesses.
It also showed that 44% of employers intend to take on one or more apprentices in the next five years, while further figures from the Association of Accounting Technicians suggested that apprentices could benefit the UK economy by up to £1.8bn a year.
The results come in light of calls for more apprenticeships in recent months, with the Government having announced its commitment to increasing the number of vacancies by over 2m, and giving small to medium businesses increased grants of up to £1,500 to help them take young people on.
Business secretary Vince Cable called this year's National Apprenticeship Week a "resounding success". He said: "The Government is putting an end to the damaging divide between vocational and academic learning. With these further commitments, thousands more people will now be able to get the practical skills they need to build careers and help firms grow."
Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock MP said: ""We want to make going to University or into an Apprenticeship the new norm."
The annual National Apprenticeship Week is in its seventh year, and aims to raise awareness of the role apprenticeships can play in the economy and for young people.