McDonald's - Our Lounge Skills Portal

McDonald’s is removing barriers to learning by providing it flexibly, online and anytime.

A survey of McDonald’s 72,000 UK employees revealed a demand for externally recognised qualifications. With employees working different shifts, the company had to come up with an innovative way of delivering this training. As one of the largest employers of under 21 year olds in the UK, McDonald’s was keen to target the skills gap in this age group. But with more than 500 employees over the age of 60, an e-learning solution also helped overcome the stigma attached to adult learning.


The story – and how it works

Our Lounge is a staff website available to everyone who works at McDonald’s (currently 55,000 registered) and individuals from all areas of the business have had a hand in its creation. McDonald’s has worked with Cambridge Training and Development, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and initial support from the previous Department for Education and Skills for its development.

Employees can work from home, an internet café or one of the PCs which McDonald’s have put in to every restaurant staff room, fitting in around each person’s lifestyle. Students define their own learning timetable with online support from an individual tutor. From initial skills assessment, the software then generates a learning plan tailored to each employee’s needs, with further online modules.

Once the learning modules have been completed, mock exams and tips to help employees prepare, ensure they have the best possible preparation. Learners must pass two mocks successfully before the final exams which are sat at accredited exam centres, in their local McDonald’s.

The Our Lounge website continues to update McDonald’s tradition of staff development. It is helping ensure that all employees at McDonalds can see the rewarding possibilities of working with the company, and in turn is heralding real business benefits. McDonald’s believe that they have a responsibility, and a desire, to train and develop the skills of those that spend time with them, providing them with skills that last a lifetime – whether they stay with McDonald’s or not. By providing the best training in their sector, they can ensure staff will become ambassadors for McDonald’s in the future.


  • 2,500 McDonald's employees currently studying towards nationally recognised qualifications
  • Staff feedback has been universally positive
  • Since their recruitment website went live at the end of March, they have received over 180,000 applications
  • To date they have hired over 16,500 people through their on-line recruitment system
  • Retention is increasing: currently 80% of restaurant managers started as hourly-paid crew members