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Apprenticeships: not only for the younger generation

As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, research by fast food giant McDonald’s highlights the confusion and misperceptions when it comes to career options, qualfications and eligibility.

The company is set to double apprenticeship training opportunities in the UK this year and plans to provide more than £2 million worth of apprenticeship opportunities in 2019 for new and current employees.

Terry Bradley-Goodship, from Milton Keynes, is an example of how workers can thrive in an apprenticeship at any age. He is now a brand ambassador across 16 restaurants, having completed his apprenticeship in Hospitality and Catering in 2011 at the age of 32.

That led him to complete the McDonald’s Foundation Degree in Managing Business Operations. Terry is now hoping to top this up with a master’s degree.

  • Pictured: Terry Bradley-Goodship.

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to develop your knowledge at work while also getting paid to do it,” he said. “Doing the apprenticeship made me more confident in my job while also giving me opportunities to progress within the company.

“I always wanted to go to university to get a degree but the cost of doing so was off-putting. McDonald’s gave me the opportunity to do this while I was working and I’m really looking forward to topping my degree up next year.’        

The McDonald’s survey found that the people in the UK still have misconceptions when it comes to the basics of apprenticeships. 12% do not believe that apprenticeships offer much benefit to the employer or apprentice and 26%  would not consider doing one.


More than four in ten Brits still have the impression that working as an apprentice means a low-wage when working and learning. McDonald’s pays its apprentices the same as the equivalent McDonald’s crew for the job they are doing, rather than the £3.80 an hour standard apprentice rate of pay.

The study also revealed that almost 90% of respondents were unaware that they could gain a bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of an apprenticeship. 

The survey follows a pledge in summer 2018 that McDonald’s will employ 43,000 apprentices across Europe by 2025, as the industry-leading programme marks its 12th year with over 18,600 qualified apprentices to date.

The UK associates careers such as construction (65%) and manufacturing (42%) with apprenticeships. However, few realise that they can also partake in training and qualifications within sectors such as food and drink, law and professional services.

McDonald’s UKs chief people officer Harriet Hounsell said: “We strongly believe in the combination of workplace training and studying with practical experience to help people progress and develop.

“Together with our franchisees, we’ve offered apprenticeships for more than 12 years, but what is key is ensuring that what we offer continues to evolve to suit the needs of our business, new recruits and our existing people; and that we reward them accordingly. 

“There can be a perception that apprentices are just for school-leavers, or for those working in technical roles –  but there are many opportunities in retail and hospitality, and for all ages.

“Our oldest apprentice is 58. I’d really encourage prospective and current employees to consider the options available to them to earn while they learn.” 

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