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National Apprenticeships Week: KFC introduces Level Two apprenticeship

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As part of Apprenticeship Week 2012, restaurant chain KFC is to extend its national apprenticeships programme to more employees in 2012, by building on the success of its City & Guilds partnership and introducing a Level Two apprenticeship.

In 2011, the partnership saw KFC launch an advanced apprenticeship in hospitality management programme, aimed at preparing KFC's team leaders for management roles within its restaurants. The rigorous scheme allows participants to study maths and English, as well as gaining an NVQ in hospitality management, with 12 months spent on an advanced apprenticeship programme, equating to 496 hours of study per candidate.

To date, more than 300 KFC team leaders have signed up to the advanced apprenticeship, with programme graduates all receiving rapid promotions, and 61% of these graduates aged between 18-24. KFC has committed to enrolling a further 200-300 employees to the scheme each year. The news comes in the wake of the National Audit Office's Adult Apprenticeships report published this month, which showed 18% of advanced apprenticeships candidates saw an increased wage return as a result of taking the qualification.

In support of the Government's drive on apprenticeships and work experience, KFC's latest announcement will see Level Two Apprenticeships being introduced to team-member level for the first time. The restaurant chain expects to enrol 1,600 staff each year to the programme, following an initial trial period. As it rapidly expands its training and development programme, KFC aims to provide between 3,000 to 5,000 apprenticeship places over the next five years at every level across the business.

KFC's apprenticeship programme aims to become a self-funded model supported by the rollout of a bespoke e-learning system called The Learning Zone. The system, which will feature in all KFC restaurants as part of the business's overall training and development strategy, will see a dedicated learning space for employees to use, and technology available to support that learning. The Learning Zone will be embedded in restaurants throughout 2012 and will become a fundamental part of the Level 2 apprenticeship and team member introduction to the programme.

The announcement comes ahead of Apprenticeships Week 2012 (6-10 February), which will focus this year on the theme, 'Get with Apprenticeships'. The awareness-raising campaign aims to engage and persuade employers of the advantages of employing and supporting apprentices in the workplace, highlighting the talent and skills of apprentices to employers and demonstrating the range of apprenticeships available in different sectors.

Martin Shuker, CEO KFC UK & Ireland, said: "At KFC, we are continuing a long tradition of providing careers, not just jobs. Apprenticeship Week will shine a light on the range of apprenticeships available, the high standard of skills apprentices achieve and the progression routes available. I hope more UK businesses step up and 'Get with Apprenticeships' and recognise the value of investing in their employees' longer-term careers."