Boris Johnson links up with renowned chef Raymond Blanc to encourage food firms to take on apprentices

The highly competitive jobs market is a tough place for youngsters trying to get started in their chosen field.

That is why Mayor of London Boris Johnson has teamed up with top chef Raymond Blanc to encourage food and hospitality firms in the capital to take on more apprentices in the months to come.

It is hoped that this will increase the success of Mr Johnson's plans to boost the number of apprenticeships in London, which were bolstered after last year's target of creating 100,000 new schemes was met.

There are currently 5,000 apprentices already working in London's food industry, but it is believed that there is plenty of scope for this to expand significantly in the future.

Blanc himself is promoting the benefits of apprentices by taking on 21 across his Brasserie Blanc restaurants in the capital and across Britain.

The apprentices he is taking on will have a range of roles, including front of house staff and chefs.

When discussing what he expects apprentices to add to his business, Blanc said it is vital that home-grown, talented youngsters are nurtured in the restaurant sector and given the chance to develop the skills needed to become the experts of the future.

He also explained that, because there was no mentor around for him, he had to go it alone - and it was tough.

With this in mind, Blanc says he is 100% behind Mr Johnson's drive to help more youngsters along the way.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson praised the fact that Blanc is spearheading the campaign to "help the food industry wake up to the power of apprenticeships".

He described how, with the plethora of restaurants, shops and suppliers in London, the capital already has massive potential to help thousands of youngsters in the city to get started on the career ladder.

"With 100,000 apprenticeships now under our belt I believe this vibrant sector of our economy can play an increasingly important role in helping to swell that number even further," the Mayor added.

Copyright Press Association 2013