Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has pledged it will recruit 1,000 new skills-based apprentices over the next two years, to work across its brands including All Bar One, Harvester and Toby Carvery, as part of its commitment to developing young talent.

The pledge, which M&B chief executive Alistair Darby announced at M&C Report’s Future Pub event, will add to the 1,500 apprenticeships currently on vocational learning programmes across the company

Darby said he hoped the pledge, which comes at the start of National Apprenticeship Week, would “inspire young people to build a credible career pathway in the retail hospitality sector, and the opportunity to earn while they learn right up to degree level”.

He said: “Through our apprenticeship pledge we want to create opportunities for talented young people to make the step into the world of work with M&B. Our apprentices can train with us, work with us, and build a career with us – helping us continue to deliver exceptional service to our guests.”

In response to the announcement, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, said: “It’s becoming the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or begin an apprenticeship. So it’s great that M&B has chosen National Apprenticeship Week to announce that 1,000 new Apprenticeships will be created within their organisation.

“Apprenticeships lead to great prospects and I would encourage other employers to follow M&B’s lead and use apprenticeships as an opportunity to grow their own talent and improve the skills base of their workforce.”

To recruit the very best people, M&B is working in partnership with Believe in Young People (BiYP), a charity dedicated to bringing business and schools together, to help bridge the gap between education and employment.

BiYP is supporting M&B through an innovative programme which connects employers and schools at a local level, together with integrating vocational skills into the secondary school curriculum. This allows M&B the opportunity to grow a sustainable, quality workforce pipeline into its apprenticeship scheme whilst also connecting the company and its employees to local communities across the UK.

Tanja Kuvejic, chief executive of BiYP, said: “Our partnership with M&B is making a huge difference to young people around the country.  The programme intends to inspire a generation by showcasing the credibility of the hospitality industry and help spot the talent of the future, as well as highlight the training and apprenticeship opportunities M&B has on offer.”

M&B is providing tailored training and qualifications, beginning with a work experience offer for schools, leading on to Apprenticeships programmes in kitchen, retail or management skills as well as Foundation, Honours and Post Graduate degrees. Apprentices can earn while they learn, gain valuable retail management skills and build a degree qualification over time with a leading hospitality company.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the M&B is holding a showcase event - ‘Developing a Youth Strategy’ at its Retail Support Centre in Birmingham on Friday 7 March.  A number of Midlands schools, businesses, suppliers and education partners will be attending to hear more about the company’s scheme, understand the training and career opportunities available and share best practice to encourage more businesses to take on apprentices in the future.