Starbucks unveiled an ambitious plan to hire an additional 1000 apprentices over the next 24 months in the UK, with up to 700 apprenticeships opportunities being offered in Greater London over the period.

In celebration of the news, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, and Kris Engskov, Managing Director of Starbucks UK and Ireland are meeting at a Starbucks store in Central London to talk to current apprentices about their experiences working on the scheme, discuss the announcement’s implications for London, and try their hands at making the perfect Latte.

This news follows the announcement made by Starbucks UK in November last year that Starbucks UK is on track to open 300 new stores and create 5,000 new jobs over the next five years.

The Starbucks apprenticeship is a qualification equivalent to five A-C GCSE grades. Recruitment will run throughout UK stores during the year and apprenticeship training will happen over 12 months, involving a combination of on the job, classroom and webinar-based training. Those that successfully complete the year-long scheme will be offered a permanent job with the company and the opportunity to shape their career in retail, dependent on their aspirations.

The scheme is part of a wider government initiative that is working with businesses throughout the UK to champion vocational alternatives to formal further education. This apprenticeship scheme will help to improve employment and education opportunities for young unemployed (NEETS) – building barista skills, customer service skills and business acumen whilst in paid employment. Starbucks aim is to target individuals with a passion for teamwork who are looking for employment opportunities where they can acquire work-ready skills. Since Starbucks began the scheme in April 2012, it has welcomed over 50 new apprentices to the business. It has proved so successful in attracting the right talent that the company is significantly raising its target.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “This is stonking news from Starbucks and great for young Londoners. Providing apprenticeships is a win-win, offering a much needed foot onto the ladder of success for school leavers, whilst also being hugely rewarding for the companies involved. Since the start of my campaign to boost training opportunities of this type, London’s businesses have created nearly 76,000 apprenticeships, meaning we are well on our way to achieving our 100,000 target. I urge others to follow Starbucks’ excellent example and do the same.”

Kris Engskov, MD, Starbucks UK and Ireland said: “We believe that young people can build great careers in retail, especially those who don’t want to follow a traditional academic route. We currently have district managers, in their early 20’s, who joined Starbucks out of school as part-time baristas, and are now responsible for the operation of 12 stores and manage over 100 partners. We have been steadily working towards providing this scheme for young people and believe it’s a great way to attract new talent into our business to improve our employee retention and support our future growth, as well as upping the skill-set of the wider coffee industry.

”At a time of record youth unemployment, we’re delighted to provide opportunities for committed young people to acquire new skills and paid employment when it’s most needed.”

Starbucks has also been working with, a website dedicated to helping school and college leavers to find opportunities that exist outside of traditional university. The partnership has been set up to offer alternative options for young people who are looking to forge a successful career in retail.