Premier Inn has announced plans to provide 500 apprenticeships this year, as it opened its 650th hotel.
Employment minister Mark Hoban MP and Whitbread chairman Anthony Habgood both turned out to unveil the new 234-bedroom hotel in Waterloo yesterday on the site of the old "Lying In Hospital".
The company claimed that the opening has created 40 new jobs, half of which had gone to those aged 16-24 and the long-term unemployed.
Meanwhile, the past three years have seen Premier Inn and Whitbread's restaurants help nearly 6,500 people achieve a qualification under its apprenticeship scheme. Some 415 apprenticeships were successfully completed by Whitbread in 2012.
Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: "Whitbread has a long history of helping young people further their careers through apprenticeships, indeed 250 years ago, our founder, Sam Whitbread started out in business on a seven-year brewing apprenticeship.
"It's tough in today's climate for young people to get into the workplace and find a job that offers them a chance to get on. We have a target of recruiting half of all our new employees from the long-term unemployed.
"Premier Inn is the UK's fastest growing hotel company whose growth in London now means that we can offer more than 7,000 bedrooms in the capital. We're very proud to be able to support people getting a job and giving them an opportunity to gain skills and qualifications through apprenticeships so they can build their career."
Mark Hoban, MP, Employment Minister, said "Premier Inn has a great record of giving opportunities to jobseekers, offering jobs to 1,100 in 2012, many of whom were unemployed young people.
"I'm delighted to hear that Premier Inn plans to build on this, and has pledged today to give opportunities to 500 young people through our apprenticeship scheme.
"Theirs is an example that I hope other companies will follow."
David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service added: "The announcement by Premier Inn that it will be providing 500 Apprenticeships this year shows the importance that leading employers, such as Whitbread are placing on Apprenticeships to help recruit and train talented people.
"Like the best employers, they develop their apprentices to become the high quality professionals they need for growing their business. Through the fast growing numbers of Apprenticeships like these we can show young people and their parents that there are great opportunities to climb the ladder right to the top."
Jack Cowley, 20, who lives in Westminster, has just joined the team at Premier Inn, Waterloo. He has been out of work for five months and has joined as a reception team member. He said, "I really love working for Premier Inn because I feel like part of a team that will help me to develop. I have already learned skills that will help me inside and outside work.
"Our team had three weeks of training, which was really enjoyable and it has made me want to work in hospitality as a career. My operations manager discussed the Apprenticeship Programme with me and I have decided to sign up for it because I want to learn new skills that are specific to hospitality."