A programme designed to help jobseekers into work across the hospitality industry has succeeded in finding jobs for more than 3,500 people and saving more than £17.5m of public money.

The programme, which is run by the skills and workforce development charity, People 1st, has been operating nationwide since September 2012 and has a success rate of getting 53% of jobseekers trained into work.

People 1st said it has been given funding to extend its programme until the end of September 2014, which will result in another 1,500 jobseekers finding a career in hospitality.

The programme has been developed and delivered using government funding and with the support of many leading businesses and brands, including Costa, Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Strada, Travelodge, and Premier Inn.

Martin-Christian Kent, the director responsible for the programme at People 1st, said that employers could see the benefit of working with his organisation.

He said: “Many employers we work with are very willing to recruit jobseekers, but their experience has not always been positive, with some complaining about the inconsistent quality of applicants and the extent to which they have to work around the system, rather than the system responding to their needs.

“We knew that if we were to encourage more employers to recruit those who are unemployed then we had to take away the inconsistency and ensure that it was easy to recruit using this method, rather than any other. We found a way around those problems for our clients and the results we’ve achieved to date clearly speak for themselves.”

Danielle Lentle, 18, went through the training with the Prince’s Trust late last year and was offered a job at her local Costa Coffee within days of finishing. Since then, she says that her life has turned around.

She said: “Within days of finishing the four-week scheme I was offered a permanent full time role at my local Costa Coffee. It was the type of training I’d been looking for. I’m really proud of my achievements because I’m exactly where I want to be – earning my own money by working in job that I enjoy. Without the training I received I’d still be claiming job seeker’s allowance. It’s totally changed my life.

Tom Byles, who is Danielle’s manager at Costa, has worked with People 1st and hired new recruits using the new programme. He said: “The People 1st training programme, in conjunction with our Get into Coffee project with the Prince’s Trust, has been really beneficial. We work with the Prince’s Trust team to provide the work support opportunity and People 1st provide the training programme to support them in developing work-ready skills.

“The result is that we get the high quality people we want and the young people get the development opportunity they need. It makes the process so much easier and the people we’ve hired have been so enthusiastic!”