McDonald’s has announced that since launching its apprenticeship scheme five years ago more than half of its first level of management have come up through the programme.

The fast food chain said that 16,000 apprentices have gained a qualification through the scheme since it was launched in 2009. A further 4,800 employees are currently studying towards an apprenticeship, and more than half are aged between 16 and 18.

McDonald’s offers its 97,000 employees the opportunity to gain a wide range of nationally recognised qualifications while they work, including both the Intermediate (Level 2) and Advanced (Level 3) Apprenticeship in Hospitality and Catering, a Level 3 Diploma in Shift Management and a Foundation Degree in Managing Business Operations.

Jez Langhorn, senior vice president, chief people officer at McDonald’s UK, said: “Getting a first taste of work has never been more important for young people. At McDonald’s, our apprenticeship programme offers our people the chance to develop their skills, gain experience and grow in confidence. This not only helps them to perform better in the workplace, but also gives them a broader foundation of transferable skills on which to build their careers, whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.”