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A-Levels students urged to take up careers in hospitality

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A-Levels students urged to take up careers in hospitality

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Last week was an important one for A-Level students as thousands received their results and began their adult lives. For the hospitality industry, it meant happy smiles, bottles of champagne, and celebrating parents.

However, there is mounting criticism surrounding the lack of information given to students regarding their options after A-Levels. Many are concerned that students are being ushered straight into university, without being fully informed about alternate training and education possibilities. Hospitality firms are pushing back, and are urging young people to opt for apprenticeships over university.

This follows a BBC report published earlier this week which found that graduates who receive the full student loan will amass up to £100,000 in debt, thanks to rising interest rates and inflation.

In a study released by Barclays, it was found that apprentices can earn £117,600 more over a lifetime than those with A-levels, while graduates take home just £2,200 more than those without a degree. Barclays noted that the figures illustrated that apprentices were getting a 'hidden pay cheque' through 'earn while you learn' schemes.

It's not just school leavers who can benefit from apprenticeship schemes; hospitality operators stand to reap rewards as well. Apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular as a means of tackling the sector's staff retention rates. Industry giants are taking note - particularly with the Apprenticeship Levy soon to be introduced.

Mitchells & Butlers - owner of the Harvester, Miller and Carter, Browns and All Bar One brands - currently offers 1,700 UK apprenticeship schemes across its restaurants and stores, in comparison to just 50 graduate roles on offer. The company reports that said scheme has achieved a 70% retention rate, with 90% of apprentices moving on to supervisory roles after a year.

At the same time, companies including Pizza Hut and Starbucks have begun to allow their workers to study part-funded BA degrees. Jan Smallbone, director of learning and talent development at Starbucks, said about the move: "We are dedicated to working with our teams to nurture this raw talent and develop them into the future managers across our businesses."

Starbucks plans to offer this to a further 1,000 apprentices by 2020. Significantly, they hope to further this trend by launching higher level training schemes that are equivalent to foundation or bachelor degrees.

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut plans on enrolling its first students onto its BA Business Management course, which was established in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, this year.

Apprenticeships, especially within the hospitality industry, empower their trainees with a wealth of experience, knowledge and opportunities that spread beyond entry level roles. For companies who want to offer the best possible experience to their guests, it seems as though apprenticeships may be the way.

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