Fast food giant McDonald's is to give staff the chance to take up an apprenticeship in running a burger bar.
Apprenticeships for burger staff
The firm said it aims to offer the training scheme to up to 6,000 members of its 72,000-strong workforce this year, and up to 10,000 each year from 2010.
It comes exactly a year after McDonald's won Government approval to become an exam board, offering employees a "basic shift managers" course, equivalent to A-level standard, which was later dubbed a "Mc-qualification."
The new apprenticeship course, accredited by City & Guilds, will give staff a nationally recognised qualification the equivalent to five GCSEs grades A*-C, and makes the company the UK's largest apprenticeships provider.
Ofsted inspectors will visit McDonald's outlets to check that standards are being upheld under their new wider remit, introduced in April 2007, which covers further education.
The apprenticeship - a Level 2 qualification in Multi-Skilled hospitality - has already been piloted in 80 restaurants across the country, and is now being rolled out to all 1,200 premises.
David Fairhurst, senior vice president and chief people officer of McDonald's UK said that in the current economic climate it is "more important than ever" for companies to invest in their staff.
He said the apprenticeship would cover everything from the technical skills required to do the job, leadership and team working, maths skills such as handling money and figures, handling customers and communication as well as nutrition and the environment.
Mr Fairhurst said that he envisaged the apprenticeship would take between six and 12 months to complete, and had been met with a positive reaction from staff.
As well as the apprenticeship and the basic shift management course, which has been taken up by 3,000 people, the firm offers access to nationally recognised GCSE-equivalent qualifications in Maths and English, and management development programmes.