As many as 6,000 vacancies at McDonald's could be filled by the long-term unemployed this year as the company extends a regional pilot of the Local Employment Partnership (LEP) scheme across the UK.
Under the LEP initiative, employers pledge to give job interviews and work placements to unemployed people specially trained by JobCentre Plus.
More than half of those who have taken part in a work trial at McDonald's through the LEP scheme in the last three months were subsequently recruited, with some earmarked for management positions, the company said.
Around 100 people are currently participating in the LEP scheme but this is set to rise significantly as all 1,200 McDonald's restaurants advertise vacancies.
As well as the LEP scheme, McDonald's aims to provide apprenticeships to up to 6,000 of its 72,000 UK workforce this year, and then up to 10,000 per year from 2010, giving staff the opportunity to gain a nationally-recognised qualification equivalent to five GCSEs grade A*-C.
David Fairhurst, chief people officer for UK & Northern Europe at McDonald's, said: "Our long-standing approach to recruiting on qualities not qualifications is giving some of our people opportunities they might not otherwise have had.
"The suite of nationally recognised GCSE and A-Level equivalent qualifications we offer, as well as the new Apprenticeships, mean we can provide transferable skills that give them mobility either in their McDonald's career or in the labour market."
By Daniel Thomas
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