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Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009
McDonald's to help unemployed
By Briar Burley
Newsbeat reporter

The fast food chain is working with Jobcentres to encourage people back into work

McDonald's has announced plans to help 6,000 long-term unemployed back into work in the UK.

The fast food chain is working with job centres to encourage people who have been jobless for more than six months back into work.

Up to 1,200 of the firm's restaurants will be offering people employment through the nationwide pilot scheme.

It is hoped recruiting the long-term jobless will encourage staff to stay on for longer over the next few years.

Everton, 23, got involved with the scheme a few weeks ago after spending months out of work.

He said: "Maybe I got a little bit lazy but I was always out there handing out CVs. I was also applying online.

"But they just weren't coming around. Maybe because I didn't have the GCSEs or experience within that company."

Group interview

After seeing an advert in his local Jobcentre and getting through a group session and interview he was offered a three-week trial in his local branch.

Now he has a permanent job and is in a training programme.

"The opportunities are fantastic. I haven't got any GCSEs or anything so I now have the chance to take my GCSE and A-level equivalents," he added.

Now they've seen what I've gained and what I've grown into they're really proud of what I do
Laura, 21, says her parents approve of her job as a McDonald's store manager

Last year McDonald's was given awarding body status, meaning it can develop and award its own qualifications, equivalent to A-levels and GCSEs.

It also provides apprenticeships to parts of its workforce.

David Fairhurst, a spokesman for the fast food chain, said: "We're really interested in making sure that as we hire the next 25,000 people into the organisation that at least a quarter of them will give people opportunities that would otherwise have doors closed to them."

The posts will mostly come from the 25,000 vacancies that come up every year when students and other temps quit the firm, often after short periods of employment.

Economic incentives

David Fairhurst admits there are economic incentives for McDonald's.

He said: "If you give someone an opportunity in life, give them some qualifications and training, they repay that plentifully in terms of their loyalty and engagement with you as an employer."

Other companies including Tesco, John Lewis and B&Q are also involved in helping the long-term unemployed back into work.

It is part of a project called Local Employment Partnerships between jobcentres and employers.

Up to 1,200 of the firm's restaurants will offer employment

Laura's started working at McDonald's when she was 16. She's now 21 and a store manager.

She says she is happy working there but says people did judge her choice at first.

"Initially when I first dropped out of school and went full time at McDonald's, you can imagine my mum said, 'Ooh she's dropped her studies'.

"But now they've seen what I've gained and what I've grown into they're really proud of what I do," she added.

Not all the customers were sure they'd apply though.

One unemployed 22-year-old man said: "Too many people I knew would come in there - they'd probably be laughing."

Another woman Newsbeat spoke to, who is also out of work, said she might consider it: "Maybe if it was far away from here. But I'd think I could've done better with myself than work at McDonald's."

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