Apprenticeships are a practical way for Europe's youth to kick-start careers

Written by David Fairhurst on 5 November 2018 in Thought Leader
Thought Leader

McDonald's is helping young people develop the skills they need to succeed through apprenticeships, writes David Fairhurst.

David Fairhurst | Photo credit: McDonald's


Some 16.8 percent of Europe’s 15-24 year-olds are currently unemployed. With our 8,200 restaurants across Europe, I believe McDonald’s has the potential and the scale to be part of the solution that changes this.

Earlier this year, I was pleased to announce our global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two million young people by 2025.

As part of this, we have joined the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, led by the European Commission.


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Along with participating franchisees, we have pledged to offer 43,000 apprenticeships in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland by 2025. We have a strong track record in providing apprenticeships in Europe.

This year, McDonald’s in Germany celebrates the 20th anniversary of its apprenticeship programme, while in the UK more than 18,500 qualified apprentices have come through the year-long training programme since 2006.

These apprenticeships enable people to earn while they learn; combining workplace training and study in a way that leads to a qualification, practical work experience and valuable new skills.

By offering a range of different apprenticeship levels for crew and restaurant managers, we can help young people transition from school to the workplace and a career, regardless of any previous experience or qualifications.

"By offering a range of different apprenticeship levels for crew and restaurant managers, we can help young people transition from school to the workplace and a career, regardless of any previous experience or qualifications"

Many entry-level apprenticeships will be offered to young people that are out of the education system and may have little to no previous work experience. If these young people have a professional attitude and are keen to develop new skills, we believe in giving them an opportunity to succeed.

Those with existing qualifications can also go on to further their education and qualifications at McDonald’s by completing advanced levels of apprenticeships, including gaining a professional degree.

Through these apprenticeship programmes, young people can develop a range of business-critical skills, including planning and organisation, handling stock and increasing sales, customer service and decision making, developing talent and being an inspirational leader.

With the experience and support that we offer, they can go on to become the next generation of business managers in McDonald’s restaurants or to successfully pursue a career outside the company.

With our pledge, we want to use our scale for good and demonstrate what large businesses like ours can do to give young people the opportunities they deserve.

“Through these apprenticeship programmes, young people can develop a range of business-critical skills”

I’m very proud that McDonald’s is a great place for Europe’s youth to kickstart a new career and I am committed to identifying and developing new pathways to help young people progress.

About the author

David Fairhurst is Global Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at McDonald’s

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