LONDON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- ThirdForce PLC, a provider of technology-enabled learning solutions and services has announced today that after a highly successful pilot project they have won the contract to become the exclusive supplier of Skills for Life provision to Whitbread PLC, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group. Whitbread brands include: Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

The successful contract win follows on from the astonishing results that were achieved in the pilot scheme at 16 sites. The pilot delivered unprecedented numbers of learners completing literacy and numeracy diagnostics and significant numbers completing the final National Skills for Life exam in a short period of time.

The full rollout will now take place at all 937 Whitbread hotel and restaurant sites nationally, with the aim of supporting 1000 learners through to both their Literacy and Numeracy qualifications. Whitbread signed up to the Skills Pledge in 2007 and has successfully developed their own 'Whitbread Apprenticeship Programme' with Skills for Life qualifications being used to provide a large element of the Key Skills provision in the innovative 'Whitbread Model' approach to Apprenticeship and NVQ delivery.

Delivery of the Skills for Life provision is outsourced to ThirdForce who delivers the provision through an innovative blended solution:- ThirdForce e-learning content is used to successfully underpin Skills for Life delivery and the learners are fully supported by a team of dedicated professional Learning Support Managers (LSMs), who provide the necessary on-site additional guidance, support and assessment for learners in the workplace, as appropriate. The ThirdForce el-box(TM) touch screen tablet PC delivery method enables Whitbread to facilitate anywhere, anytime access to learning for employees.

Alan Maguire Managing Director of ThirdForce commented ThirdForce is both proud and delighted to have been selected as Skills for Life partner in Whitbread's ground-breaking apprenticeship programme. We share the Whitbread vision that learning skills assume even greater importance in these challenging times and that the right partners using the best technology and people can deliver on that vision better than any other solution.

The ThirdForce Skills for Life solution enabled Whitbread to confidently outsource the entire Skills for Life delivery requirement of their NVQ/Apprenticeship programme and has resulted in significantly faster completion times and learner engagement compared with more traditional methods of Skills for Life delivery.

Notes to Editors

The 'Whitbread Model'

The programme comprises three sections - a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2, key skills qualifications in application of number and communication and an Employment Responsibility Rights (ERR) project. The programme will take half the time to complete versus a standard Apprenticeship, with most team members now taking 6 months instead of 12, as the work required to complete the course is included in Whitbread's standard induction programme. Successful completion will mean that team members will receive four certificates - an NVQ Level 2, two Key Skills certificates, an ERR and an Apprenticeship.

Whitbread PLC Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its well-loved brands are Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 9 million customers every month in its 1,800 outlets across the UK.

In the first half of the financial year ended 28th August 2008, Whitbread PLC reported a 12.6% increase in Group Revenue to GBP682.2 million and 24% increase in Pre-tax Profit to GBP123.3 million.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index.

ThirdForce PLC

With over 25 years experience, ThirdForce Plc, is a leading independent e-learning solutions provider, with a proven track record in delivering state of the art, technology enabled e-learning solutions to over 17 million learners in leading companies in the commercial, hospitality, education, government and healthcare sectors.

Blending technology, multimedia and pedagogy into unique learning experiences that lift performance and raise standards, ThirdForce provides a wide portfolio of e-learning solutions including IT Certification courses, Compliance training and Business Skills.

e-learning courses and assessments prove to be highly cost effective and change the way our clients do business. The ThirdForce business model is flexible to the needs of each client, avoiding a 'one size fits all' approach. The extremely user friendly interface, makes the e-learning content challenging, rewarding, relevant and, motivational.

ThirdForce plc is a global e-learning company, with commercial headquarters in London, Dublin and Columbus Ohio, with a regional office in Canada. It is listed on both AIM and IEX; further details are available at

Ingrid O'Sullivan, +353-1-2891989,