Travelodge and Whitbread support first NEP meeting on jobs
Budget hotel groups Travelodge and Whitbread, were the hospitality representatives at the first meeting of the National Employment Partnership (NEP) in Downing Street this morning.
The NEP was created to highlight the job opportunities offered through job centres and also includes Sainsbury's, Royal Mail, Centrica, National Express.
The meeting came a day after official statistics revealed the worst unemployment figures since Labour came to power in 1997, at just under two million.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "Around this table are some of the biggest employers in the country. I realise these are very difficult times because of the global financial recession.
"But I am sure, by working together in partnership, we can make a difference to the employment opportunities and success of the economy."
Ahead of the meeting, Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge revealed that the company recruited 77% of its new employees through the Local Employment Partnership (LEP) - a scheme designed to help the unemployed - in 2008.
"The great benefit of the LEP has been its simplification of the bureaucracy involved in employing people through Job Centre Plus. This has enabled us to work quickly and efficiently across the UK with local job centres to find recruits suitable for our needs," he said.
"This year we intend to open at least 30 new hotels, creating up to 500 jobs across the UK and, through the LEP, give those who are currently unemployed the chance to start a career in the leisure industry."
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By Daniel Thomas
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