Premier Inn, the UK's largest hotel brand, is to create 8,000 new jobs over the next five years as it opens a new hotel every 10 days.
The announcement was made at the official opening of Premier Inn's latest hotel, London City (Monument), by Patrick Dempsey, Whitbread hotels and restaurants managing director, and Esther McVey MP, minister for employment.
While half of the 8,000 jobs will be filled by the long term unemployed people, aged 16-24, Premier Inn has also pledged an additional 2,000 apprenticeships and 4,500 work placements for young people in the UK by 2018.
All of the 20 jobs at the new 184-bedroom Premier Inn at monument have gone to the long-term unemployed.
Dempsey, who has led the Big Hospitality Conversation initiative with the British Hospitality Association to create new jobs, said: "We're committed to doing what we can to offer opportunities to unemployed people to get their first job or to get back into work, and we offer them a robust and structured qualification pathway."
"We especially want young people to know that hospitality is a career path that is open to them and its one they could excel in. The Big Hospitality Conversation is a key pillar of activity for the British Hospitality Association and as an industry it has already pledged more than 32,000 jobs, apprenticeships and work placements and that number could double by 2014.
McVey said she was delighted with Premier Inn's news of 8,000 new jobs. "This government has been clear about its commitment to promote private sector job creation and this is a stellar example.
"Their commitment to offer half of these new jobs to long term unemployed young people is particularly welcome, and is an example that I hope other businesses will follow."
Ufi Ibrahim chief executive of the British Hospitality Association added: "The hospitality industry is the UK plc's brightest star. Not only did it account for one third of all new jobs created in Britain between 2010 and 2012, but it is focused on delivering its potential to create a further 300,000 jobs by 2020, which would take the industry to more than three million employees across all regions of the UK.
"This growth will move hospitality up into the top three biggest employers in Britain. Hospitality stands out for the scale of jobs it represents, especially for young entrants, and for the pace and extent of career development offered across our industry. There are few industries that can match hospitality's power to propel individuals from entry level to boardrooms across Britain. The BHA applauds Premier Inn for their outstanding achievements in creating jobs, driving professionalism, advancing careers and nurturing tomorrow's leaders."
Matthew Costa, 21, one of Premier Inn Monument's new recruits, joined the hotel after he'd been looking for a full time role for over eight months. "I was doing some agency work, which included delivering some beds to the Monument site. I met some of the new team members and I heard that there were some full time roles available. I applied for a job as a kitchen assistant and got it. I'm delighted to be working with a really good team of people in an environment where I can progress and learn new skills on and off the job."