YO! Sushi has launched a new talent development programme focusing on building long-term careers.

Through partnerships with Ingeus, Jobcentre, Learn Direct, Springboard and the Department of Work and Pensions, the programme includes three new initiatives targeted at first time workers and long-term unemployed, designed to improve staff retention and enhance the skills of YO! Sushi’s workforce.

In partnership with the young people employment scheme specialist Ingeus, the company has launched a new apprenticeship scheme, offering young people NVQ Level 2 in professional cookery, food production and food & beverage service. Currently piloting the scheme across nine restaurants in London, YO! has already recruited 20 apprentices and aims to roll out the programme nationally in October, extending qualifications to also include management.

A new work experience programme sees the company collaborating with Job Centre and charity Springboard to offer two and eight week placements for 14 to 18 year olds, gaining valuable experience in the front of house and kitchen teams. Currently available in six restaurants where candidates have already been offered permanent team member roles, YO! aims to roll out the programme to the entire estate, with candidates receiving appropriate references and being considered first for permanent roles when available.

Specifically targeting those out of work for between six months and two years, a new Sector Based Work Academy sees YO! offering training and qualifications in WorldHost Guest Care, Food Safety, Health and Safety and basic kitchen schools. Run in partnership with Learn Direct, the Academies are run for two weeks, followed by a three-week work experience shift with a final assessment at a regional centre. Currently running in Fareham and Oxford with 28 people, all successful applicants will be guaranteed job interviews.

Jo Childs, people director at YO! Sushi, said: “Our staff make our business what it is and we pride ourselves on our brand and our unique customer experience, which is why we’re investing in our new talent development programme. We already hugely benefit from promoting within, with many of our staff in the Head Office starting on the restaurant floor. Our new learning and development programme supports this ethos even further, ensuring we are creating long term careers at YO! Sushi, not simply jobs.”