McDonald’s has pocketed £10million of public money for an apprenticeship scheme …but has not created a single new job with it.
Instead, the multi-national fast-food giant has spent the whole sum on “career progression” for 18,000 existing staff.
A Sunday Mirror investigation has found that among nine other major firms which take the most money from the scheme, £20million has been spent to create just 2,559 new jobs.
With unemployment hitting 2.67million PM David Cameron has pushed apprenticeships as a way to get young people back into work. In July he revamped the Skills Funding Agency to work directly with employers and recently said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of the kind of economy we want to build: one where many more young people have the chance to learn a proper trade.”
Taxpayers have so far paid out £30,934,034 to create jobs which cost £12,088 each. But anyone on an apprentice’s minimum wage takes home just £5,200 a year.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said: “When a multi-billion pound company takes millions from taxpayers and doesn’t create a single new job, then you know the government’s back to work schemes are descending into chaos.
“The Sunday Mirror has shown the Government has big questions to answer. The Tories slashed Labour’s successful Future Jobs Fund. Now long-term youth unemployment has doubled and we have a million young unemployed. We want to know why more apprenticeships aren’t being created for all this money.”
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “Our apprenticeships’ scheme is about supporting and enabling career progression, not job creation. Since we started our apprenticeships programme, 11,000 employees have completed it and a further 7,000 employees are currently studying towards the qualification.
“We invest £36million every year in training. Like many UK employers, we receive some government funding in addition to our own investment, which enables us to adapt our training into nationally recognised, transferable qualifications.”
She said the firm hoped to create 2,500 new jobs this year.
Latest figures show 1.04 million 16-24-year-olds are unemployed, the highest number since 1986.
This week Mr Cameron claimed firms had offered more than 5,500 new apprenticeships since the start of the year.
However, new data shows the top 10 companies to receive money from the Skills Funding Agency shared a total of £30,934,034 to create just 2,559 new positions. Under the terms of the funding, companies are able to spend some of the money on retraining existing staff.
Phones4U said it had spent its share of the public money on “upskilling”. A spokesman said: “In the past year, we have trained and upskilled over 2,700 of our 5,000 employees.”
A spokesman for BAe Systems said each apprentice, which costs the taxpayer an average £10,555, had a further £90,000 invested in them by the company itself.
Tesco would not say how many apprentices they employed.
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