According to figures by the TUC, long term youth unemployment has grown by a massive 874% since 2000. Figures released yesterday say that although it has fallen in the short term, it is still high at just over one million. Indeed, whilst yesterday's overarching unemployment rate showed an improvement of 51,000, it still remains high at 2.61 million. Coupled with high costs of living and rising tuition fees, it doesn't make for a good economic outlook for the youth of today.
Faced with this uncertain future, we want to help young people get started in their careers. Through offering vocational training qualifications, placement programmes for university students and a management apprenticeship scheme, we are training young people in the skills they need to make sure our industry remains competitive for years to come.
We need to offer young people choices. Some thrive on studying at university, but this isn't for everyone, and at Accor we offer alternatives. There are plenty of options out there for young people to develop strong, industry recognised skills that will last them a lifetime and will help them to build successful careers. Whether it's through apprenticeships or entry level jobs, we need to offer different people different choices and remind them that vocational training can be a viable alternative to university.
Today, we have launched our 'Academie Accor' today - a UK hospitality training centre, designed to teach our current and future employees. Through it we have set ourselves an ambitious target to train 25,000 people in the next three years.
We have formalised our apprenticeship scheme, whereby every year we are committed to offering 100 young people the opportunity to achieve NVQ2 or 3 qualifications whilst being employed by Accor. This includes the launch of an "in-to-work" programme called 'Hospitality Futures' - designed to offer 25 young unemployed people the opportunity to kick-start a career in hospitality. Furthermore, we have finalised our student placement offering, and are working with a number of universities to offer 100 students a year-long paid placement at our hotels enabling them to experience the vast opportunities in the hospitality industry.
Investing in young people is vital and as a key player in the UK hospitality industry, it is important to continue to attract talented and hardworking people to this sector, to guarantee its future success. Hospitality is all about people. We are part of an industry that needs good communicators and people who are willing to help others. A career in this sector is therefore one that needs to be developed whilst 'on the job' - through experience and training our new recruits learn how to respond to customers in the best way.
In total, we're creating 3,500 jobs and investing over £5million in the next three years and for us, this investment makes business sense. We're a company dependent on its people and we're a company that will grow further - we want to manage 300 hotels in the UK by 2015 and to do this, we need to build careers in the industry and encourage talented and motivated young people to enter it. As a leader within the industry it is our role to demonstrate that there are a variety of opportunities within the hospitality industry, which is why we are investing strongly in our people to help them develop their careers.