Pret A Manger has agreed to take on 12 new apprentices as part of a London-based campaign to tackle youth unemployment in the capital.

The food-to-go firm will train the new recruits in both food preparation and customer service areas of the business, as part of the Ladder for London campaign, organised by the London Evening Standard newspaper.

Clive Schlee, chief executive at Pret A Manger, told The Standard: “These young people are the bedrock of Pret and of the country’s future. Pret A Manger has been helping to tackle youth unemployment through our homeless apprenticeship scheme since 2008, with a healthy retention rate of 79%.”

Pret A Manger has said it will be paying its apprentices £7.25 per hour, as well as completing further training one day a week at youth employment charity City Gateway towards an advanced NVQ qualification.

The firm will also be giving the 12 recruits £100-worth of vouchers towards work clothes, a monthly travel card and free lunch. Pret has also pledged it will offer the youngsters a permanent position at the company after three months of employment.

The Standard’s Ladder for London campaign was launched last month to help unemployed young adults into work through paid apprenticeships.