Travelodge has announced that it has received a record number of applications for JuMP, its junior management apprenticeship programme, as university applications plummet.
The budget hotel group said it had received more than 3,000 CVs for its 45 apprentice positions, equating to 66 school-leavers going after every position.
The first wave of recruitment began last month and in four weeks Travelodge received 3,027 applications, with the most popular areas being London, Glasgow and Liverpool.
Travelodge HR director Michelle Luxford said: "The demand for our apprenticeship programme and hotel positions is like nothing I have ever seen before in my career.
"We have had candidates from all corners of the UK applying for a place on our JuMP programme. The intake to the programme this year is three times bigger than it was last year."
She said that with fewer people able to afford a place at university in today's economy, it was no surprise to see a 9% drop in higher education applications this year.
"With over a million 16- to 24-year-olds unemployed, more companies have to invest in apprenticeship programmes to help these youngsters into the workplace," she added. "There is a huge pool of talent out there searching for an opportunity to start a career."
Open to suitable A level students, the JuMP programme provides a fast-track route into management during which school-leavers can gain work experience, receive a salary and become a manager by the age of 21. It was developed to support the company's aggressive growth strategy to have 1,000 hotels by 2020 and to support the chancellor's appeal for British companies to generate more high-value apprenticeship placements in a bid to help the one million out of work youngsters into the workplace.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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