McDonalds has highlighted the importance of investing in training for employees during "challenging economic times".

The fast food chain has announced that it will be providing apprenticeships for up to 6,000 of its 72,000 workforce, which will make it the UK’s largest provider of apprenticeships.

David Fairhurst, chief people officer, McDonald’s UK, explained that by investing in training for staff, the company was helping the industry as a whole.

Mr Fairhurst said: "In these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever for employers to invest in their staff."

He continued: "It’s vital that we and others in the [hospitality and service] industry invest in skills and training now to ensure the sector is ready to shine when the UK emerges from the downturn."

The government has announced that it is to fund an additional 35,000 apprentices next year and Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that there will be an additional £140 million to fund the schemes.