Sponsored by City and Guilds, the awards celebrate employers like Elior that grow talent through apprenticeships. In 2015, 309 apprentices trained with Elior. Each worked towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) at Levels 2, 3, 4 and Diploma, in subjects as varied as Food Production and Cooking through to Hospitality Management.

The scheme has been so successful, more people than ever are choosing to become Elior apprentices, with the number of new starters increasing by 21% in 2015. Expressions of interest have increased three-fold at Elior’s Apprenticeship Roadshows, which visit Elior sites around the country demonstrating the scheme’s benefits to existing colleagues.

According to the National Apprenticeship Service, Elior stood out because of the impact apprenticeships had on its business.

Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “These Top 100 apprenticeship employers have made a difference to the lives of young people by investing in their future whilst apprentices themselves help employers to develop a skilled, qualified workforce that builds a stronger economy.”

The National Apprenticeship Service received more than 1,200 entries before selecting Elior for a place in the Top 100.

Arran McDowell, Elior UK HR director, said: “We’re proud that our apprenticeship scheme is ranked as one of the best in the UK. With two million dining occasions a week, it is crucial we have a team of happy, motivated people to deliver great experiences. Apprentices give us a chance to nurture raw talent, create a bank of skills and build loyalty.

“There’s no limit on the experience level of a new Elior apprentice, so I’d encourage all colleagues interested in developing skills and earning an industry-recognised qualification to consider the scheme.”

Deborah Oakley, catering manager at The Hemsley, University of Nottingham, said: “Being an Elior apprentice boosted my confidence. My line managers respect my qualifications, which have opened up more doors for me in Elior.

“Initially I studied for a Level 3 Hospitality and Leadership NVQ with Elior. This gave me a sense of pride that spurred me on to take Level 4 Hospitality Management. It was tough work, but made me realise the value of my skills. I’m encouraging my team to work towards similar qualifications.”

The national win follows a further National Apprenticeship Service recognition in October, where Elior was named Highly Commended Macro Employer of the Year in the North West.