Bury St Edmunds pub giant Greene King has today vowed to take on 10,000 apprentices over the next three years.
The announcement from the country’s leading pub retailer and brewer, based in Westgate, comes at the start of National Apprenticeship Week.
Government-backed, National Apprenticeship Week seeks to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals and businesses.
Greene King’s pledge means that by 2019 the company will have supported more than 17,000 apprentices in just eight years.
Last year, the company promised to hire 2,000 apprentices in the 12 months to March 2016 – a pledge the firm met and then exceeded.
Rooney Anand, Greene King’s chief executive, said: “We are thrilled to have exceeded our 2015 apprenticeship target. The fact that we are now aiming to hit an even higher target of 10,000 is a reflection that as a leader within the UK’s hospitality industry, we believe we have a responsibility to support young people by creating these opportunities to earn and learn.
“Not only do we want to ensure our apprentices have a great experience, we want to continue to improve the programme itself. We will provide the best advice and guidance to potential learners so they understand their commitment and ensure the qualification is best suited to their career aspirations.”
Two months ago Prime Minister David Cameron praised the work of Greene King for its commitment to training apprentices and personally thanked Mr Anand during a reception at Downing Street.
Lindsey Parr is just one of a number of apprentices who have successfully risen through the ranks at Greene King.
Having completed previous qualifications, she was highly commended by the National Apprenticeship Service for the Champion of the Year Award 2014 before starting Level 4 Management Apprenticeship which she is due to complete in May 2016.
Now a general manager at Sherwood Manor, Nottingham and supporting other Greene King apprentices.
She said: “I was managing my first pub at the age of 18.
“It was a fantastic opportunity, which instilled within me a number of values which have led me to where I am today.”
Rebecca Goodwin (25) began an apprenticeship programme with Greene King three years ago.
At the time, she was a waitress at the Rushbrooke Arms in Bury St Edmunds.
She joined Greene King’s Apprenticeship Programme and has just been promoted to assistant manager.
She said: “Since joining the programme three years ago, I’ve earned two Level 2 qualifications; the first in Hospitality Services - which gave me a good foundation of knowledge in both Front of House and Back of House disciplines - and the second in Team Leading. In November 2015 I started my Level 3 qualification in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership.
“Over the past couple of years, my confidence has developed hugely, and I feel that my apprenticeship has played a huge part in that.
“My mission is to make sure that customers coming through our doors at the Rushbrooke Arms have the best possible experience – that’s what I’m passionate about and that’s why I come into work looking forward to the day ahead.
“Earning a wage whilst I build my skills is an added bonus.
She said: “Applying for an apprenticeship is the best thing I could have done to kick-start my career, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.”