By 2010, the fast-food giant said it will employ up to 10,000 apprentices on level 2 courses with up to 6,000 of the 72,000 workforce due to start this year.
It also means that the company's 1,200 restaurants will be open to Ofsted inspectors who will have to judge how well the assembly of the Filet-o- Fish is being taught, as well as basic skills in maths and English.
The announcement follows the creation of a level 3, A-level equivalent, course in shift management developed when the company was given awarding body powers last year. McDonald's has tried to promote its career options and distance itself from the notion of the McJob.
David Fairhurst, chief people officer at McDonald's, said: "The apprenticeships enable those who use a job at McDonald's as a stepping stone to another career to move on to their next job with a valuable, transferable qualification."
Mr Fairhurst said it was more important than ever to invest in training during an economic downturn.