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News & Press Releases

Whitbread and CBI Call for Business to Step up Investment in Next Generation to Help them Achieve their Career Ambitions

28 OCTOBER 2015

ComRes research launched today by Whitbread and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found very positive trends in the way that today’s school leavers (16-19 year olds) are approaching and planning ahead for their careers. It is particularly positive about their levels of research, amount of longer-term ambition, and high uptake and value of work experience schemes.

Following the results, Whitbread and the CBI have highlighted the critical role for business in supporting school leavers as they transition into careers, and are urging all employers to do more to provide careers information, open up work experience placements and invest more in exposing school and college students to the world of work.

The key findings are:

  • 81% say that they have given considerable thought to their future career with as many as 59% thinking four or more years ahead;

  • 58% say that having a future management role is important to them;

  • The opportunity for promotion is an important factor in choosing a career with 86% stating they would be more likely to work for an employer who could set out a clear path of career progression;

  • Nine out of ten school leavers suggest that they are willing to take on further study or training while in work to help them get ahead.

Commenting on the findings, Andy Harrison, CEO of Whitbread says, “This is a clear message that business needs to step up and invest more time and effort in reaching out to the next generation of employees, managers and leaders.  The next generation are telling us that they are very positive about their future work prospects and would welcome more engagement and support from business.  This is a pool of future talent that we should be embracing before they even enter the workplace, helping them to fulfil their ambitions.”

The survey of 1,500 16-19 year olds in the UK also found that, when it comes to finding out information about work and careers:

  • Online career websites are the most popular source with 69% saying that they go online to research potential careers;

  • The vast majority (93%) suggest that they have received advice about careers while in school or college;

  • However only 31% say they have received jobs or careers advice from employers. Of those that have received advice from employers the overwhelming majority (90%) said it was a useful source of information.

John Cridland, Director General of the CBI, says, “Young people expect businesses to step up and show them the career opportunities on offer and a clear idea on how they can progress in their career. Employers are doing some great work on the ground, but we need to get more firms involved. Many young people are worried about making their first steps outside the school gates and it’s clear that the more exposure to the world of work they get early on, from advice to work experience, the better for them. The careers advice system is in a perilous state and letting young people down. It’s vital that more firms engage but to achieve this we need a fresh approach to careers in schools. The Government must ensure that the new careers company has the resources it needs to transform provision.”

The research also considered the value of work experience placements and found:

  • 80% said they had undertaken work experience whilst they were at school or college;

  • Those who had are likely to have thought harder about their career options with 82% claiming that their work experience helped them gain a better understanding of the world of work;

  • 76% said that their work experience had helped them develop the skills needed in the workplace;

  • 68% say their work experience had helped them to decide on a career pathway.

Richard Baker, Chairman, Whitbread, commented: “At Whitbread we employ thousands of young people, often straight out of school or college and following work experience placements.  We are passionate about giving them the training and the opportunities to build their careers with us. At Whitbread there are no barriers to entry and no limits to ambition. Last year we gave 1,300 people the chance to manage one of our hotels, restaurants or coffee shops and 600 of those people are managing their own business for the first time.”

Tanja Kuveljic, CEO at charity, Believe in Young People, adds:  “We are one of Whitbread’s partners in helping to bring the world of work into the classroom and we know from experience that this approach is crucial in building confidence and helping young people to prepare for employment. If more of this kind of intervention can be done, I know that we will be building more productive future employees and leaders.”

Whitbread’s WISE programme (Whitbread Investing in Skills & Employment) was launched in 2012 and is focused on educating and employing people who are often from difficult backgrounds.  The programme focuses on three key areas:


  • 1,068 apprenticeships have been completed to date and 826 people are currently working towards an apprenticeship

  • Whitbread offers Level 1 through to Level 7 and is an accredited provider with a Good Ofsted ranking

  • Whitbread is targeting 6,000 apprenticeships by 2020 and recently announced the launch of the first-ever Costa Apprenticeship programme. This programme will provide an Intermediate Apprenticeship in Customer Service and Barista Skills, equivalent to 5 GCSEs.

Work Experience Placements

  • Aimed at young people aged 11- 18 years old Whitbread has delivered over 2,700 placements for school and college students

  • Whitbread is targeting 7,500 work experience placements by 2020

Adult Work Placements

  • Aimed at supporting people, particularly NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training) to get into work, over 2,900 placements have been delivered to date

  • 60% of people attending a work experience go on to gain a job with the company.

  • Whitbread is targeting 6,500 adult work placements by 2020


Further case studies of recent school leavers working at Whitbread (Premier Inn and Costa Coffee) available on request.

About the Whitbread/ CBI Youth Careers Study

Methodology note:

ComRes interviewed 1,500 16-19 year olds online between 4th and 14th September 2015 on behalf of Whitbread and the CBI. Data are weighted to be nationally representative by age, gender and region. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comres.co.uk


Media contacts

Whitbread: Whitbread@lexisagency.com / 0207 908 6406

CBI: press.office@cbi.org.uk / 020 7395 8239


About Whitbread PLC

Whitbread is the owner of the UK’s favourite hotel chain, Premier Inn and the UK’s favourite coffee shop, Costa, as well as restaurant brands, Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns.

Whitbread PLC employs 48,000 people in over 2,000* outlets across the UK, with its well-loved brands making every day experiences special for over 24 million UK customers every month.

At Whitbread we are committed to being a force for good in the communities in which we operate. Our CR programme, 'Good Together' is focused on three pillars of Team & Communities, Customer Wellbeing and Energy & Environment.

In the half year ended 27th August 2015, Whitbread PLC reported a 11.3% increase in Total Revenue and an Underlying Profit before tax increase of 13.8%.

Whitbread PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index.

*excludes Costa Franchise stores and Costa Express


About Whitbread’s Good Together strategy and 2020 targets

Whitbread set new 2020 targets at the beginning of the year for its corporate responsibility programme, which is called Good Together.

Whitbread has created around 1,500 new UK jobs in the half year ending 27th August 2015 and over 840 people have enrolled in its apprenticeship programme.

The Costa Foundation has raised almost £1 million in the first half of the year with the number of school projects in coffee growing communities reaching 47. Whitbread aims to raise £7.5 million to build a new Premier Inn Clinical Building at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, due to open  in 2017. In the half year, £0.9 million has been raised for this project, bringing the cumulative total to around £5.1 million.

Whitbread’s Hotels and Restaurants business and Costa are both working on the details of their salt and sugar reduction targets. Whitbread is one of the first companies to be accredited for the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon, waste and water.

About the CBI

Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors which together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce. With offices in the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world.

About Believe in Young People

Believe in Young People, www.biyp.org, is a non-profit charity which brings educators and employers together to develop young people’s skills and behaviours to prepare them for and connect them with suitable employment. We work with schools and colleges across the UK and our current employer partners are Whitbread, Costa, Premier Inn, Hilton Worldwide, Jurys Inn, Mitchells & Butler, Toby Carvery and Babylon.

We also support and join up out programme with work delivered by the National Careers Service (NCS); the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS); UnionLearn; the Association of Colleges; the British Hospitality Association     (BHA); People 1st; and JobCentrePlus (JCP).

BiYP works to instil a belief in young people and enables them to reach their true potential by progressing their skills and behaviours from year 7 upwards.  We provide businesses with a simple and measured structured approach to talent development and sustainable recruitment as a result of community investment.

We enable schools and colleges to measure the progression outcomes of young people from all socio-economic backgrounds by bringing the world of work into the curriculum. By challenging traditional methods of careers education, community engagement and recruitment, we’ve created a new approach to youth employment leading to a brighter economic future.

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