Budget hotel chain Travelodge is to pay 18-year olds between £8,300 and £10,000 a year to train as apprentice managers instead of going to university.
Travelodge’s three-year Junior Management Programme, known as JuMP, aims to produce 500 managers of properties by the age of 21. The first 50 apprentices will be recruited this summer.
Travelodge hopes to attract candidates put off by the hikes in university fees despite the low salary. A spokeswoman said a manager aged 21 would earn between £25,000 and £30,000 a year once trained. However, apprentices will still have to undergo Travelodge’s 12-week management training programme once they have finished their three-year course.
“The point is they will be with us and getting on the job training rather than running up debts of more than £40,000,” the spokeswoman said.
Guy Parsons, Travelodge chief executive said: “The fast track management programme provides a real job, with the opportunity of on the job training throughout the business, combined with further education and the opportunity to earn up to £30,000.”
Travelodge plans to have 1,100 UK hotels by 2025 – more than double its current total - and aims to have up to half of these managed by apprentices by 2015.
“The budget hotel sector is the engine room of the hotel industry and Travelodge is the power brand of the UK hotel sector. Therefore the potential for today’s youth to revolutionise one of Britain’s powerhouse industries is phenomenal. I am hoping we will find our future business leaders from JuMP,” said Parsons.