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KFC has an obligation to get young people into management positions, says VP HR

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Award-winning employer KFC is stepping up its efforts to attract young talent and develop entry-level employees into future managers, VP HR James Watts has told HR magazine.

The fast-food retailer already has several programmes in place to help young people, including a partnership with Barnardo's and an agreement with De Montford University to run a business degree in the institution. This has led to the company being named among the best places to work in the UK for the last three years.

The company won the HR Excellence Award for outstanding employee engagement in 2013 and the overall Gold Award. Watts told HR that the company hasn't been resting on its laurels since the win.

"In our sector you have to grow talent quickly within the organisation: two-thirds of our management positions are filled from promoting within," he said.

Watts claims that he had no problem persuading parent company Yum to endorse his HR vision. "Yum is such a people-centric company. Getting buy-in from the top was like pushing against an open door," he said.

The employer's reputation has caught the attention of the BBC, which is currently filming a documentary about employees at the company.

"They're filming with us for around five months,” said Watts. “They're trying to get a look at life behind the scenes at a company like ours. We're delighted and see it as a good opportunity for people to see what we have achieved here.”

The company's relationship with Barnardo's, to help underprivileged young people into work, is also being developed in the near future. Watts said: "We have an excellent relationship with Barnardo's and are looking to develop it and offer even more opportunities in the future.”

To enter the 2014 HR Excellence Awards, go to: www.hrexcellenceawards.com. The closing date for all applications is 13 March