From education to employment

New website plans to dispel dire predictions of a lost generation

McDonalds have launched a new website which looks set to provide training and skills development for thousands of its employees, it was confirmed yesterday.

The “career and lifestyle” website will enable up to 1,000 employees to gain GCSE equivalent qualifications in the next 12 months.

The website, which is available to all 67,000 UK staff, will tutor students to nationally-recognised Level 1 and 2 qualifications, with exams sat in accredited exam centre restaurants.

Entitled “Our Lounge”, the site also offers all-round advice, from improving communication skills to buying a house.

David Fairhurst, Vice-president, People, McDonald’s said: “This is a long way from traditional skills assessments. The entire site has been created by our own people to give them the information, advice and support they have told us they need to enhance their social, personal and working lives. In short, Our Lounge is a virtual life coach for all of our people”.

According to the Leitch Review of Skills interim report, more than one third of UK adults leave school without a basic qualification, and almost half are not functionally numerate.

“When you consider that most people in need of help with literacy and numeracy are already in the workforce, basic skills training is a matter of concern for everyone,” Mr Fairhurst added.

“I believe that as a progressive employer, McDonald’s is playing its part in ensuring that the dire predictions of a lost generation with basic skills deficiencies does not become a reality that holds business and Britain back,” he said.

One advantage of the programme is that employees don”t have to travel to college to study. Chris Banks, Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council applauded the fact that Level 1 and 2 qualifications were offered “at the click of a mouse”.

“This is a significant step,” he added. “Making learning easy and accessible is crucial to increasing the number of people with these essential qualifications and your people will benefit enormously and so will McDonald’s as a business”.

Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General, said: “Competency in literacy and numeracy is vital for the modern world of work”.

“By offering on-site training through such an innovative approach McDonald’s has made these opportunities far more accessible and attractive to its employees”.

Annabel Hardy.

Next week: the Centre for Excellence in Leadership write exclusively for FE News

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