Travel concession operator SSP has made a commitment to recruit another 750 apprentices into its UK business by 2014 - a pledge that it announced at the British Hospitality Association's jobs campaign the Big Conversation.
Within that number, the company will include more than 80 young people, aged 16 to 18, in partnership with hospitality career advice organisation Springboard and the online advisory service www.notgoingtouni.co.uk.
SSP has recruited more than 1,000 learners onto Level two and three programmes since its apprenticeship scheme was launched in July 2010.
Christine Holland, SSP UK's national apprenticeship manager, commented: "In line with the Government's priorities and strategies SSP UK recognises the need to support school leavers this summer.
"This belief is underscored by research in which 82% of school leavers said have no idea what they want to do after leaving school, and yet over half of that number also said that they would consider a future in hospitality. Catering is not often young people's first choice of a career, and yet we have a large demand for skilled staff.
"By providing a structured framework for training and career progression, our apprenticeship scheme allows young people to learn while they earn and has enabled us to recruit and retain a number of really excellent team members."
The programme builds on what the young person learns during a 12-week induction at team level, or trainee team leader level.
"An apprenticeship is an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. From experience we know that achieving this qualification will encourage the learner to become a star member of the team," added Holland.
"And if they fancy leading a team of their own, an apprenticeship will help them take the first steps towards management."