Travelodge has placed the first graduates of its two year apprenticeship scheme into jobs within the budget hotel’s portfolio, and is experiencing overwhelming demand for places on its latest intake.
The scheme provides the company with fully trained staff who have a recognised national diploma, achieved through on the job training in a salaried position. Despite the strictures imposed by its financial restructuring of the last year or so, the company has maintained the training programme, and now has a pipeline of trainees to support its planned growth pipeline.
The scheme was created in April 2011, in answer to a call from government asking companies to create more high value apprenticeship placements. An initial 17 recruits were taken on, and the scheme has now expanded to the extent that the 2013 intake offered 51 placements. The programme received more than 6,000 applications, or 115 applicants for every place.
Recruits, who are all 18 year old school leavers with A level qualifications, complete JuMP, a two year junior management programme. The end results – in addition to a job at Travelodge – are the recognised qualifications of a level two apprenticeship in multi-skilled hospitality, and level three diploma in hospitality supervision & leadership.
“We are extremely proud to see 17 JuMP apprentices graduate from the UK’s first hotel management apprenticeship programme.,” said Jon Hendry Pickup, Travelodge’s COO. “I expect them to be the first of many, as the calibre of our intake has been very high. They are a great example to other young people, demonstrating that you can have a successful career without going to university.”
Travelodge has set a target of 75% of its management appointments being internal, and the apprenticeship scheme helps towards this. “It has been enormously successful,” said the company’s James Pieslak, “and is creating great hotel managers who understand our culture.”
Travelodge is not alone in recognising the need for home grown talent. Whitbread hotel chain Premier Inn committed to take on 500 apprentices at various levels during 2013, though most of their training is completed within six months. And IHG also operates a training academy in the UK, offering six months of training for students who are then offered entry level jobs within the group’s hotels.