FAST food workers in Swansea have joined thousands of colleagues across the country in completing an apprenticeship with McDonald's.
A total of 18 employees in the city have completed their apprenticeships with the firm, which are nationally recognised and accredited through City and Guilds.
The apprenticeship is equivalent to five GCSEs and sits in the middle of the McDonald's learning ladder, ranging from work experience for school pupils aged 16 and up to a foundation degree in managing business operations for restaurant managers.
Emma Littleford, a newly qualified apprentice working at McDonald's outlet in Fabian Way, said the apprenticeship scheme ended up being more than just a useful training tool.
The 20-year-old said: "Not only has it allowed me to gain another qualification and brush up on my maths and English skills, it's also had a very positive impact on my progression at work.
"I believe that without the skills I learnt on the course, I wouldn't be in my current position as floor manager and working towards the next level of management.
"In today's competitive job market, it's so important to have an edge over everybody else and I think vocational qualifications like the apprenticeship scheme are the perfect way for people to boost their CVs. It doesn't matter whether you're a university graduate or left school with no qualifications, it really is accessible to everyone and the best part is you can continue earning whilst learning.
"I couldn't recommend it highly enough."
McDonald's franchisee Ron Mounsey said: "The education landscape in the UK is currently evolving in the midst of the changing economic climate, and as a result, vocational qualifications are more relevant than ever before since they provide people with the opportunity to continue gaining qualifications at the same time as working in a relevant employment sector.
"I'm proud to be able to offer local people this type of opportunity in the form of our apprenticeship programme and I believe it is important for more businesses to invest in such training opportunities.
"Giving people the chance to learn and earn means I can attract the very best people.
"The skills staff develop on the apprenticeship programme can help increase their enthusiasm, confidence and professional attitude which is good for them, good for business and good for our customers too.
"Ultimately, any business that invests in people now during tougher times will help our economy in the long term by helping strengthen the task force."