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McDonald's 'uses state funds to train staff'

23 January 2012

According to a report in the Sunday Times, McDonald's has used nearly £30m from a state plan, intended to slash youth joblessness, in order to train its own employees rather than create jobs

The reason the report may cause a stir is that McDonald's is one of the largest providers under the scheme, according to the ST, and has so far trained 17,500 of its 72,000 British staff over the past three years.

In addition, fears have been raised that companies are using taxpayers' funds to subsidise training they would be carrying out as a matter of course, rather than improving the skills of young people who would otherwise be unemployed.

The funding is derived from an announcement in October 2010 by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) that it was boosting spending on apprentices by £250m to give thousands of them jobs. This is particularly crucial at the moment because the number of unemployed 16-24-year-olds is at a record high.

The company's involvement in the scheme has, thus far, been well publicised. The Swindon Advertiser, for instance, recently ran an article emphasising the fact that restaurants in the chain across the town had celebrated the first 20 employees in Swindon to have gained an apprenticeship as part of McDonald's investment in local people.

A few weeks earlier, Get Reading announced the Reading East MP was “lovin’ it” when he visited the centre in Reading where McDonald’s apprentices are trained. Rob Wilson apparently went to the restaurant chain’s training centre in Friar Street to chat about the apprentice scheme with a group of young people taking part.

He used the opportunity to present qualification certificates to the latest cohort of trainees to pass their exams.

Wilson was reported by Get Reading as saying: “I was delighted to see so many young people working and up-skilling at the same time and I therefore congratulate all those successful in completing their apprenticeship with McDonald’s. I strongly believe in the value of apprenticeships.

“They give both young people and adults an opportunity to learn skills in a work-based setting and McDonald’s is doing a fantastic job in providing apprenticeship opportunities. I visited the training centre here in Reading last year and I was impressed with the company’s investment in education for its staff.

“Academia is not always right for everyone and this team of young people are a credit to the company and I wish them luck in their future career.”

Skills development in the manufacturing sector has become particularly important recently, which is what led to the development of Appetite for Skills, a student workshop associated with Appetite for Engineering and Food Processing, which will take place at the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) on 27 March.


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