City pub group Mitchells and Butlers is recruiting 1,000 new apprentices over the next two years in a major tonic for the West Midlands’ economy.

The trainees will work across the group’s range of outlets, including All Bar One, Browns, Harvester, Miller & Carter, Toby Carvery and Nicholson’s.

The new intake will add to the 1,500 apprentices currently on vocational learning programmes across the company, encouraging young people to seek career opportunities in the pubs and bars sector.

M&B chief executive Alistair Darby said: “Through our apprenticeship pledge we want to create opportunities for talented young people to make the step into the world of work with us.

“Our apprentices can train with us, work with us, and build a career with us – helping us continue to deliver exceptional service to our guests.”

The M&B recruitment programme was welcomed by minister for skills and enterprise Matthew Hancock.

“It’s becoming the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or begin an apprenticeship,” he said.

“Apprenticeships lead to great prospects and I would encourage other employers to follow M&Bs’ lead and use them as an opportunity to grow their own talent.”

Mitchells and Butlers is working with Believe in Young People, a charity dedicated to bringing business and schools together, to help bridge the gap between education and employment.

Tanja Kuvejic, from the charity, said: “Our partnership with M&B is making a huge difference to young people around the country.”

Mitchells and Butlers, formed in 1898, is the country’s largest operator of restaurants, pubs and bars.

It ran a total of 7,000 pubs until the Beer Orders of 1989 compelled it to dispose of thousands of venues.