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Whitbread Launches Apprenticeship Programme and Announces 1,000 New Jobs

Whitbread, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group, has today launched a bespoke training and development programme at the House of Commons. Named the 'Whitbread Model' the six-month apprenticeship programme is the first and largest employer-led programme of its kind in the hospitality industry.

Whitbread also announces that it will create 1,000 new jobs in 2009 to staff its planned opening of around 12 new hotels, 4 restaurants and over 100 Costa Coffee shops.

The 'Whitbread Model' is an innovative apprenticeship programme because all employees are eligible across its UK hotel and restaurant operations. The model is also totally integrated into the core business training and development programmes and can be achieved in half the time of a normal NVQ. By the end of 2009 over 3,000 employees are expected to have achieved qualifications such as NVQ's and certificates in Adult numeracy and literacy. Employees can study for NVQ's in House keeping, Food processing and Cooking, Food and Drink service and Front Office.

The 'Whitbread Model' was developed in conjunction with Awarding Body Edexcel and the Sector Skills Council People 1st, who are backing the programme as a breakthrough in matching vocational qualifications to employer-led training and development. Whitbread also partners Third Force who supply excellent support for the Skills for Life qualification also support this model.

Paul Knight, Team Leader, Corey's Mill Beefeater & Stevenage Premier Inn one of the first Whitbread people to complete the scheme commented:

"Training in my workplace is a lot more personalised that if I went to college, also being paid whilst you learn is far more beneficial for me then having to find time to fit in both work and college." Alan Parker, Chief Executive Officer for Whitbread PLC, commented:

"The 'Whitbread Model' is at the heart of our commitment to attract and train up the very best potential hospitality talent. We need to keep demonstrating that working in the hospitality industry is a great career move, not just a job. By halving the time that it takes to achieve qualifications and combining the NVQ work with our industry leading induction programme, we anticipate that 20% of our workforce will have a nationally recognised qualification by 2010." Tony McNulty, Minster for Employment and Welfare Reform said:

"The Government is committed to its Local Employer Partnership Scheme, which provides unemployed people across the UK opportunities to find work with local employers. At a time when we are facing global economic challenges, I am encouraged to see that Whitbread are investing in the training and development of its employees and creating the future talent of the hospitality industry."

The 'Whitbread Model'
The programme comprises three sections - a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 including the technical certification, key skills qualifications in application of number and communication and an Employment Responsibility Rights (ERR) project. The programme will take half the time to complete than a standard Apprenticeship with most team members now taking 6 months instead of 12, as the work required to complete the course is included in Whitbread's standard induction programme. Successful completion will mean that team members will receive four certificates - an NVQ Level 2, two Key Skills certificates, an ERR and an Apprenticeship. All certificates are nationally recognised.

Whitbread PLC
Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its well-loved brands are Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 9 million customers every month in its 1,800 outlets across the UK.

In the first half of the financial year ended 28th August 2008, Whitbread PLC reported a 12.6% increase in Group Revenue to £682.2 million and 24% increase in Pre-tax Profit to £123.3 million.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index.

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