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New jobs and apprenticeship scheme at Whitbread

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Whitbread is to create 4,000 new jobs over the next year and will launch a new apprenticeship scheme.

The scheme, which the hotel, bar and restaurant firm believes is the first for a hospitality organisation, will involve over 3,000 employees being trained to complete an NVQ programme in housekeeping, food processing and cooking and customer services by the end of 2009.

Whitbread, which owns Costa Coffee, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and Premier Inn, has signed the Government Skills Pledge and is working with examining body Edexcel to deliver the scheme.

Whitbread Group's CEO, Alan Parker, said: "The initiative demonstrates Whitbread's tireless commitment to the personal development of our teams. By halving the time it takes and combining the NVQ work with our industry leading induction programme, we anticipate 20% of our workforce will have a nationally recognised qualification by 2010."

Marian Graveson, apprentice programme manager at Whitbread, said: "Our aim was to combine all aspects of our training into an apprenticeship, creating a fully contextualised training solution for our businesses delivered in half the time of the standard length of the programme."