Jill McDonald’s comments come as youth unemployment stands at just below the one million mark – that’s 20 per cent of the population aged between 16 and 24.
At the Institute of Directors’ annual conference yesterday, Jill McDonald spoke out against companies’ prejudices against young people, saying that they’re missing out on a huge pool of talent.
McDonald told the conference that “we need to acknowledge the road many young people take today may not be the one we took in the past.”
She added: “We need to remove the snobbery that does down workplace learning. For many put off by high fees, this could and should be the route they take.”
McDonalds – the fast food chain – is a major employer of people without further education qualifications. Some 90 per cent of McDonald’s restaurant managers joined as trainees, and more than half of McDonald’s executive team started in one of its 1,200 restaurants.
Only a few years ago, McDonald’s received the green light to offer its own NVQ qualifications, overseen by schools regulator Ofsted. Today, more than 16,000 McDonald’s staff are studying for Ofsted-recognised qualifications.
McDonald said: “We now see the equivalent of six full classes gain adult certificates in maths and English every week and we’ve now awarded 3,000 Level 2 Apprenticeships in hospitality.
“The truth is that as the worlds of business and education move ever closer, companies like ours are becoming educators as well as employers,” she said.
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