KFC will fill one in every three UK jobs with young people from underprivileged backgrounds by 2023 in a move intended to boost social mobility for youth who face employment barriers.
With the Hatch employability programme, the fast food chain plans to hire 6,000 youngsters from ages 16 to 24 to land their first job.
This will allow them to gain more work opportunities, develop their skills and confidence, and become managers.
It will not take into account any social, economic, domestic, or mental health issues they have suffered.
After completing the programme, Hatch will give training and actual work experience, followed by an interview with KFC, where they could get full-time employment.
KFC’s UK general manager, Meghan Farren, said it “urgently” needs to be easier for companies to invest in the next generation, as many consider it as a “chore or cost”.
She said: “We need to unlock the potential of young people across the UK, and the skills shortage in the economy and the hospitality industry has only sharpened our focus on this.
“But skills shortage or not, businesses of our scale and reach across the UK need to see investing in young people’s skills as an opportunity, not a chore or cost.
“We urgently need it be easier for businesses, like ours, to invest in the next generation.
“We need policy to be designed around the skills young people and businesses need, and the investment to make this a reality – not just in tech firms, but also in the hospitality and retail industries which create the bulk of Britain’s private sector jobs.”
Ms Farren said that KFC is one of the country’s leading youth employers.
Nearly two-thirds of its staff are under 25, so it knows “all too well” the difficulties and inequalities that young people experience.
Moreover, the hospitality industry often provides individuals with rapid advancement and a great deal of responsibility.
She said: “In very few industries would you find 23-year-olds running a million-pound business and managing teams of 40 people.
“But the value of roles in hospitality are all too often overlooked and undervalued in society.”
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She urged the government to improve investment in youth training to make it easier for firms to employ and address labour shortages.
Policies could include tax incentives for firms to invest in young staffers, a skills-based apprenticeship policy, or a cross-government approach to connect youngsters with local jobs.
It comes at a time when the hospitality industry is suffering a 250,000 seasonal labour shortage.
It is one of the sectors that has been hit the hardest by post-Covid and Brexit labour shortages.
Source: Evening Standard